When we left the apartment we had for the first day, we drove to our next apartment just to familiarise ourselves with where it was - only about 700mt away, how great!
As it was 11AM and we could only check in from 2PM, and our car was full of visible luggage, we parked it in a parking garage next to the Court House with the boot facing the wall so it was safe, and we were then free to start walking around.
|Justice - statue done in 1961 at the Court House|
Right across the Court house was the Jardim de Joao Chagas formerly known as Jardim da Cordoaria (Cordoaria Park) at Campo dos Martires da Patria.
I enjoyed the variety of statues, the bandstand that was decorated with colourful string and the tram that crossed the park.
|Cordoaria Park - Statues - top: "Flora", 1904, bottom: "Rapture of Ganimedes" 1898, and right side " Thirteen laughing at each other",2001|
On the other side of the park was a restaurant, and we liked what was on the menu displayed outside, so we went in for lunch. We were shown to the first floor of "Dona Porto" to a pretty room with a granite stone wall, plenty of art on the walls, a bookshelf with books in various languages, mirrors...
The food didn't disappoint either and we also had a view of the park as we were the first to arrive so had a choice of seating.
Dona Porto Restaurant
Clerigos Tower & Church
After lunch we started making our way down to the Ribeira again, going past Torre dos Clérigos Church (Church of the Clergymen).
The second bridge is the Infante Dom Henrique bridge (or just Infante Bridge), the most recent bridge, opened in 2003 and built to replace the upper deck of Luis I bridge which was converted to be used by Yellow line of Metro train. Named after Prince Henry, the Navigator who was born in Porto. It is 371mt long and 20 mt wide.
|D. Maria Pia and Sao Joao bridge after|
The third bridge, D.Maria Pia bridge (or Dona Maria Bridge) - designed by Theophile Seyrig and Gustave Eiffel on the northern side of Porto and Gaia, It was the first railway bridge that linked Lisbon to Porto, inaugurated in 1877 by Kings Luis and Queen Maria Pia, who gave the bridge it's name. Back then it had the longest single-arch span in the world and is 354mt long. Although it was a complex bridge to build it only took just short of 2 years to be built.
Maria Pia's Bridge is no longer in use and was superseded by another railroad bridge in 1991 - the Sao Joao bridge, built just a few metres away, used by the North line of the Portuguese railway system. Also built by Edgar Cardoso who built the Arrabida bridge.
After D.Maria bridge is the furthest bridge - Freixo bridge, inaugurated in 1995. The top deck is used for rail travel.
It's actually 2 bridges built side by side, separated by 10cm, allowing for 8 traffic lanes, 4 each way. On average about 100,000 cars cross this bridge daily.
On the return trip via Porto towards the sea, we go past the last bridge - Arrabida Bridge.
With the high volume of traffic across Luis I bridge, another bridge had to be constructed - the Arrabida Bridge - where about 140,000 cars cross daily.
It's the bridge closest to the Atlantic Ocean and was concluded in 1963, projected and built by the Portuguese engineer and university professor, Edgar Cardoso.
It has an arch of 270mt, a lenght of 500mt and 26,5 mt wide. It also has 4 lifts for people to climb the 70mt from the river bed to the top to facilitate the pedestrians crossing the bridge.
And it was time to return to port, back to Ribeira.
And an interesting piece if information - Porto is the only European city with 6 bridges!
|Luis I Bridge and Ribeira area|
|Remains of the suspended bridge Maria II|
We walked across the Luis I bridge into the Gaia municipality on the other side so we could visit Port wine cellars. As we crossed the bridge we noticed a couple of kids on the rails poised to jump into the water. On the Gaia side another kid collected coins from the watching public. My husband gave him 5€ and the kid obviously having reached what they wanted gave the other 2 kids the go ahead to jump.
It's apparently an old tradition, that was portrayed in a 1942 movie - Aniki Bobo, and in a more recent movie - Meninos do Rio (children of the river) in 2014.
Just days later, when we were in Lisbon, as I was showing my parents the photos, I was told that just days before we were in Porto, an American tourist had jumped the bridge to impress his girlfriend and had disappeared in the water....not sure if there's ever been accidents with the kids.
At this stage the owner of the apartment were we would be staying the next 3 days called to say he could meet us there shortly, but we were on the other side of the river with plans...so we he said he would drop the keys at a cafe near the house and we could pick them up anytime. That suited us, we just never got to meet the owner.
Port Wine Tasting
We enjoyed a walk along the riverfront on the Gaia side perusing the craft markets.
Time for Port tasting, and from dozens of cellars to choose from we settled on visiting Porto Cruz cellars. Apart from just tastings they have exhibitions, a multimedia centre and workshops. The viewing terrace with a bar at the top has 360 degree views over Porto and Gaia. After taking some photos we returned to the ground floor to buy a "Port wine and cheese tasting". (you can choose just Port or Port/chocolate tastings)
|Women in Black exhibition, the terrace and views|
As you can see there are Ports in various colours depending on their maturity, and it was the first time I tasted ruby Port, I only knew the white and dark variety.
I'm not a big drinker, or I should say I hardly ever drink, but prefer sweet drinks, but after drinking 3 Ports, even though they were accompanied by cheese I was already feeling a bit tipsy, which just leads me to giggle a lot 😀 😀.
It was time to make our way back to Porto, to go and settle into our new place, and these are some of the interesting things we saw on our walk there...
|Old English Club of Porto has a fancy restaurant (Rua das Virtudes) views from near the apartment, narrow Porto streets|
When I booked online via Airbnb the outdoor area with views over the Douro river had attracted me to it, and the place certainly didn't disappoint! It was the ideal spot to watch the sun set or to sit at night with a drink and watch the night lights, just beautiful!
It was aptly named "Oporto best view-garden". Located at Rua Francisco da Rocha Soares, it was also within walking distance into the city centre too.
|Bedrooms, lounge and the lovely terrace with river views|
After dropping our stuff, it was time to go and have a bite to eat. My husband and daughter had their hearts (or tummies) set on eating snails. Ugh, I never tasted them... but we couldn't find a place that had them. Eventually a young guy from a fancy restaurant from the Old English Club, (old house w/green balconies on photo above) walked us to a lovely out of the way eatery just 500 mt away.
No snails again, but certainly a variety of traditional dishes served in a different way.
Português de Gema - at 33 Rua de Santana, is a delicatessen that sells products produced by people with past social exclusion - biscuits, jams, cheeses and pastries.
Vocational training is seen as the key to integration, and here these people sell their products, cook in the kitchen or serve at the tables.
|Portugues de Gema - food with a difference|
Just at the end of the street was a Church - Sao Lourenco (or Igreja dos Grilos) built in 1577, now a seminary, and there was a lookout over part of Porto that was lit up by now, and we stood there a while admiring the view.
|Views of Porto at the Sao Lourenco lookout|
And so ends a photo heavy post, hope you have a lovely weekend and see you back next week for more sights of Porto.
Youtube 3 min video about the 6 bridges in Porto