Porto - to the riverside

29th Mar 2019
Photo of Porto - to the riverside by ana

Well, you know what they say: 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day!" For that reason, our day started with the best combination of good energy and delicious food: coffe, nata and sun.

Nata is a traditional Portuguese pastry, an egg tart - but not a simple 'egg tart' it is THE egg tart. One can buy the tarts everywhere in Portugal - throughout the world, for that matter - in any Portuguese bakery or restaurant, where they are officially known as pasteis de nata.

Praça da Batalha was the stop for this delicious meal and there's a great dynamic in this area: close to the bakery where we were, we add an amazing view to the Clérigos tower, we could visit the Santo Ildefonso church, and enjoy some time seated in the square right in front of it, before visiting the São João National Theater.

We went for a guided visit to know more about the building that was designed by José Marques da Silva. The interior is luxurious, as a royal theater should be, and we can still feel the rituals of the beginning of the XX century: the stairs impose a slow rhythm, the balconies for the voyeurism, the old ashtrays that are still right next to the base of the building columns...

Photo of Porto - to the riverside by ana
Photo of Porto - to the riverside by ana
Photo of Porto - to the riverside by ana

After the visit, we were starving. And even if we weren't, we couldn't miss the opportunity of having lunch at Gazela.

Gazela became so famous, after Anthony Bourdain's visit, that now, they have 2 restaurants near the theater.

Gazela is the most famous place for hot-dogs in Porto. Thin bread, sausage, and cheese make them absolutely delicious. A beer and some fries on the side... we were as happy as kids on Christmas eve.

After a strong coffee, we were ready to go down, to the riverside through the Codeçal stairs.

The stairs took us to the impressive Ponte D. Luís. With a total length of more than 300 meters, this breath-taking structure was once the longest.

As the sun was shining, we seated a bit, watching the kids jumping from the lower deck of the bridge to the river - this is a tradition that was immortalised by the legendary filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira in his movie "Aniki Bóbó" (1942).

Our afternoon was spent walking along the Douro.

Ribeira is one of Porto’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and is a very scenic area with numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars.

In a relaxing passe, we got to the Alfândega, a 150-year-old building that used to be a Custom's House. Today it is a congress center, by the hands of Eduardo Souto Moura - the architect that won the Pritzker prize in 2011. The building is amazing and, as we walk through it, we can still see the tracks formerly destined to the circulation of wagons.

On the other side of the street, there's this Warehouse were we always like to go: it's a fashion store, an art gallery, an antique shop, and even a tapas bar. It's urban, vintage and super cool!

Photo of Porto - to the riverside by ana

We finished the day watching the tramcars pass by and singing this Milky Chance song, to this beautiful city "o Porto":

Down by the river

I was drawn by your grace

Into depths of oblivion

And to the lover's place

I was stuck in a puddle

Full of tears and unwise

Dark doings now I know

That we've paid unlike