Our upstairs neighbors from a past life, Andrew Buzzi and Dick Maniace, deserve the credit for inspiring our present lifestyle of living wherever we desire around the world. Unlike us who have completely dispossessed our selves of everything, they have been accumulating houses, furniture and even a car. They have recently sold houses in Sitges Spain and Berlin Germany but have purchased another one in Palm Springs. Imagine the headaches of shipping all that furniture from Germany and Spain to California. In spite of their very complicated lifestyle they have managed to visit us everywhere we have been over the last five years with the exception of Melbourne Australia. They were involved in a major home renovation in Spain at that time.
Well they have now found us in Porto even though we are here for a much shorter time than our usual three months.
This is the first picture taken after their arrival. We usually have an arrival picture but Andrew charged up our three flights of stairs and directly into the loo. He did not feel well for at least 24 hours. We had arranged a driving tour of Porto the day after their arrival and this picture was taken by the tour guide. Andrew stayed home for rest and recuperation.
This is the work of an American, Janet Echelman and made in 2005. It was Echelman’s first permanent public installation, and she has gone on to produce sculptures for cities across Canada and the USA. This gossamer design changes as the wind shifts but our tour guide said it is supposed to be a Portuguese man o’ war.
Casa da Musica is a masterpiece of a building designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it opened in 2005. The elevated shoe box shape has seating for 1,300. We so regret we did not have the foresight to book a performance here.
Porto has many beautiful working fountains that are well maintained.
Jim found a tour through Tours by Locals which involved a drive to the Port Wine region in the Douro Valley, a picnic, a boat ride and Port wine tasting. Weather forecast was for the high 90’s in Porto and we mistakenly thought that the Douro Valley was coastal and would be cooler. Unfortunately it is inland with temperatures at least 10 degrees higher than Porto. Jim clicked on the wrong tour and we ended up getting a wine tasting with a beautiful view in a private residence and a taste of typical Portuguese food in a small local restaurant.
Driving to the Douro Valley we saw a lot of smoke from wildfires.
All five of us were crammed into a very small Mercedes Benz with poor AC that is typical of German cars. We were uncomfortable and can’t imagine how the big boys felt.
Vineyards in the Douro Valley.
Our guide on the right taking us to our wine tasting. He lived here before moving to Porto when he married.
The view over the Douro Valley from our wine tasting host’s back terrace.
First of nine wine tastings.
Our Dutch Host (born in 1967 as his shirt says).
We also tasted Olive oils.
We tasted six local wines and three Ports.
Walking to a local small un-air-conditioned restaurant in 105 degree heat. We really had no interest at this point in tasting local charcuterie.
It is a beautiful wine growing region but the disappointment of the wrong tour and the intense heat made for an unsatisfying day.
Andrew feeling much better after sickness, heat and too much wine. First stop, Porto Cathedral.
If there is a tower then we are always up to the challenge of the climb and reward of the view.
View from the Porto Cathedral Tower.
Dick and Andrew opted to decline the climb.
Bishops Palace, next to the cathedral.
Porto Cathedral Altar.
A rest break for the three amigos at the Cathedral’s Plaza.
Red room of the Bishop’s Palace.
View of the river from a Palace window.
Waving to each other from the Palace Atrium surrounding the grand staircase.
Saturday morning we were headed down Santa Catarina Street and ran into this group of girls beginning a musical performance. They are all Economics students and musicians. Over the next few weekend days we ran into multiple other groups of girls from different schools all doing the same thing. One group were all Medical students.
Sometimes it takes a village to purchase train tickets (even in English!). These gals tried to help Dick and Andrew. We missed a few trains before they finally sorted it out.
Clearly they should have gotten a sleeper car on this train.
This Saturday outing is to Vila do Conde, a 70 minute train ride from our home in Porto. We walked there one week later on the Camino Portuguese de Costa, see our blog Take another walk in our shoes. Dick and Andrew had two friends they met in Berlin and since we were all in Portugal we decided to take the train to Vila do Conde to meet and have lunch with them. The most outstanding feature of the town is this amazing aqueduct that extends for 4k (2.5 miles). Built between 1626 and 1714 it has 999 arches.
Vila do Conde is a picturesque coastal town situated on the mouth of the River Ave and was historically a center of shipbuilding and seafaring.
We had a delightful lunch and really enjoyed meeting this interesting couple. One a film critic covering a film festival in Vila Do Condo this weekend and the other a pipe organ expert.
Replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria ship.
Praia Azul is a beautiful stretch of beach in the town
We climbed the tower of the Church of the Clerics and a wedding was taking place at the time that we were able to look down on.
Views at the top of the tower.
Red roof tops of Porto
This is the Porto’s MacDonalds. They are not allowed to put up the Golden Arches. There is another one downtown that has an even fancier cast iron facade.
The altar of the Gothic 14th C San Francisco church is undergoing renovations.
We did get to admire the many intricate wooden and gold gilded carvings of side chapels.
IN 1809 Napoleon’s troops invaded Porto and used this church as a horse stable.
This is the ancient catacombs of the church and glass floor allowing you to peer into the 13th centuary ossuary containing the remains of 2,500 people.
There is a glass window in the floor allowing visitors to view the pile of human bones below their feet.
Love this blue cat mural
Porto is a constant stair master challenge
Yes some sections are so challenging they put in escalators. Andrew was delighted to find this one.
One of our last meals together at a great Thai restaurant.
We will see our stalkers next in London.
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