30 March 2013

Slippery When Wet: My Visit to Porto, Portugal - Sundays in My City

I spent the past week exploring Porto, Portugal. Porto straddles the Douro River in northern Portugal. It is one of Europe's oldest cities and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Port wine is named for the city that is famous for its production and export. The city rises steeply from the river on narrow, cobbled winding streets and alleys.

I tried many times to capture the steepness of the city but it wasn't easy.

I was looking forward to a few days of sun and warmer temperatures since we're still freezing here in the Netherlands. That was not to be. The forecast called for rain, rain and more rain and it did not lie.

When we arrived.
When we left.
Wet sidewalk. I'm not sure exactly what the pavers are but they're as slippery as bathroom tile!
I have to admit, the city has a definite charm and character but it was difficult to fully enjoy it.  It's hard to see when your umbrella is blocking a lot of the view and most of your attention is paid to where you're walking so you don't slip on the wet cobbles and bust your arse.

There were lots of little side streets and alleys I would normally have explored but the pouring ran really dampened my normal sense of wonder. Still, I did see a lot and found the city to be very beautiful.

There's simply too much to cover in one post without it being far too long. Additional posts about the São Bento train station, food, the Pointe Luiz I Bridge, tiles, faces and randomly odd and curious items are in progress (the links work but might be empty until I get everything uploaded; please check back...I have over 500 pictures to go through!).

My favorite part of the trip, however, was when I went to spend some time with the bridges. This might not be something most travelers do (at least, I've never heard anyone else ever speak of "spending time with a bridge.") but whereas there are many, many amazing examples of architecture and engineering in this world, nothing speaks to me like massive steel beams.

I sat down for lunch and this was my view. It was a brief period of no rain and I got to just enjoy being in the presence of the bridge. There are four other major bridges spanning the Douro River; one designed by Gustave Eiffel but some demolition on the hillside blocked my attempt to walk that far down the river.
This lady was in the restaurant and as soon as I saw her I knew I had to photograph her but I didn't know how I was going to pull that off. She got up to leave while I was still eating so I readied my camera hoping to get a quick picture without her noticing. She stopped in the doorway and looked right at me. I pointed to my camera and then to her and she nodded her head. I was giddy with the excitement of having been allowed to take her picture.  Between the time spent with the bridge and getting to take her picture, it was the perfect afternoon!
Porto is a wonderful city and I'd love the opportunity to explore it under drier conditions. There are beaches just a few miles north of the city and the river valley to the south is supposed to be beautiful (plans to bike there were, well, rained out).

I'm tired and our clocks change this weekend so I need to get some sleep. For more adventures check out the other SIMC posts at Unknown Mami.

Unknown Mami


  1. Beautiful Porto, thanks for sharing and also thanks for visiting the other Sunday.

    I love the colors bursting everywhere.

    Happy Easter, have a great Sunday! :)

  2. Porto does look beautiful, I think I will add this to my list of must see destinations.


  3. What a picturesque place! My favorite pic was the steps

  4. Such a colorful city. I love all the different balconies decorations. That is a very steep street and stair steps.

  5. Great images - I like the plates one of the residents hung on the outside balcony.

    Visiting from Sunday in My City.


  6. Oh I like. I like. I always wondered about Portugal. I am glad you had port in Portugal. I liked your tour, but my favorite shot is the last.

  7. I love traveling vicariously with you! It looks like a beautiful city despite the rain and I love that you caught that beautiful woman!

    BTW, did you see my shout out to you on Wednesday? I showed the growing stack of my world traveling pen pals.

  8. We are traveling to Portugal in the fall. I look forward to seeing it myself. Your glimpse has made me curious.

    1. I hope you have better weather. It really is a beautiful city. Enjoy your trip!

  9. Wow! Incredible pictures. I love all of the buildings. So perfect.

  10. Your pictures are absolutely incredible. Like seriously.

    Those cute little buildings. I can definitely see how steep it is.

  11. Thank you for the tour of the city - you did capture its steepness! It looks like a fabulous place to visit even in the rain.

  12. All these posts make my heart swoon. I absolutely feel in love with Portugal and you captured it so vividly.

    1. Thanks Angie! I feel like the pictures just don't do it justice.

  13. It looks like it is out of a storybook. I'm sorry it was raining, but your photos are still great.