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Porto - O How a Porto You Are

Porto - home to the Port Wine and sweeping views

First day in Porto! I love how central our Airbnb was to a lot of the sites we were interested in seeing.
Pro tip: plan to walk down the hills of Porto and end the night taking a cab or Uber back…you won’t regret it. It was super easy to get around everywhere by walking down but the trek back up is unreal. The walk let’s you enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of every crooked cobblestone street and the people on them.

We walked over to Bolhao Market, which is currently under renovation but has a temporary market underneath a shopping mall near by. I wish we had markets like this in the USA because it would be an amazing place to come grocery shop. There were a couple restaurants, a bakery, a cheese monger, a ton of produce stands, wine stands, fish mongers, dried fruit/olives stands, canned seafood stands, and most importantly butchers. We loved walking around trying to decide what we wanted for lunch. We ultimately were convinced to create a charcuterie board because of this smaller butcher who was generous enough to let us try slices of all his Ibérico jamon. After the first slice, we were already sold. You could tell how passionate he was about his cured meats and was excited to have us try all different types. He was also super nice about slicing essential 3-5 slices of each meat we ordered. We settled on a regular ibérico jamon, a pata negra, and a chorizo/sausage like one. They were ALL SO GOOD.

We then set out to find cheese and bread to complete our board. We settled on some cow cheeses that were natural but somehow not as good as ones from the US that we are used to. We also bought a slice and one roll from the bakery (which costed only 0.45 euros…..so cheap). We also found a lady selling multiple kinds of olives and bought 0.50 euros worth. We gathered our goods and found tables near the wine stands and also bought a 4 euro glass of sangria to wash it all down. (The lady who sold us the wine was extremely proud of her sangria and expectantly asked for our stamp of approval…..mostly because she made this sangria HELLA STRONG….I think she added ginja, a Portuguese cherry liqueur).

We ended our meal with a fruit cup and some dried fruit and left happy to have met and broken bread with such generous and lovely shopkeepers. We then walked around the Decathlon store in the mall before heading out.

We walked from the market over to the Torre Clerigos to climb the 245 steps to the top. (Word of caution: if you have large backpack, they will not allow you to carry it into the tower because it narrows LIKE A LOT as you climb. They were kind enough to let us leave our back pack but we were nervous about the safety of our stuff.) The climb starts with a mini museum of artifacts and a cool view into the church below. You then head into the staircase where people are going both up and down and you constantly have to be patient with strangers going the opposite way. There is a first lookout that is way less crowded and offers similar views if you don’t want to finish the climb or don’t want to battle other tourists for photos. At the top, it is super windy but you get a 360 view of all of Portos, which is just jaw dropping as it is surrounded by the Douro River and stunning bridges and architecture. We squeezed our way back down and got our backpack back and left to seek hydration!
View mid way
View from the top!

We walked a little further up the street to a Cafe Cristina (super popular chain in Porto) for a mango/vanilla ice cream popsicle and a delicious custard filled pastry.

Having rehydrated, we wandered over to the Livraria Lello (Lello Bookstore), the most famous and beautiful bookstore in Portugal and quite honestly probably one of the most beautiful bookstores I have ever been to. I HIGHLY recommend visiting if you are at all a bibliophile. (Pro tip: Order tickets online, it is not only 1 euro cheaper per person, but you also get to SKIP the LINE.). We ended up waiting in a super long line that took about 30-45 minutes to make it to the front and happily headed in. There were TONS of tourists but it didn’t detract from the GORGEOUS and stunning red painted staircase in the center. The walls are covered with books upon books and the view is best from the 2nd floor. We wandered around for about 45 minutes to get closer to closing time where there were MUCH less people but also I was struggling deciding which Lello gold leafed books I wanted to limit myself to. I could easily spend all day in a place like this, reading books and people watching. At the cashier, they also subtract the entrance ticket price from your receipt if you buy a book!

We stopped by our airbnb to drop off our goods and then headed out for dinner. We fortunately strolled upon the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, a gorgeous viewpoint of Porto which is amazing at night!

After admiring the view, we continued climbing down the hill to the riverside where we went to eat at Bacalhau. We got to sit right alongside the river while enjoying the delicious food. We ordered olives/bread (couvert), “Alentejana” soup with cod (sopa alentejana de bacalhau), codfish skin crackers (chips de pele de bacalhau), and corvine and shrimp (corvina e camarao). I would skip the olives/bread here but the soup and the corvine and shrimp are 2 dishes you CANNOT miss. The soup was light and refreshing but not super hot. The corvine and shrimp were served over this bread stew that was PACKED with umami. I’m still not sure what was in the bread stew but it was so tasty and had the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. The codfish skin chips were also delicious and fried well but needed a touch of salt. We also really enjoyed this meal with our glasses of white wine (get one with verde grapes…it’ll be worth it.)
Fanciest/biggest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen!

Posted by E.M.N 09:26 Archived in Portugal Tagged tower market porto bookstore torre oporto bacalhau bolhão clérigos livraria lello

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