Spain-Portugal 2018

17 – A Rainy Day in Porto

Formerly a cyclone but reduced to a topical storm, Leslie moved up the coast of Portugal and was sitting just off Porto as we headed out for the day. So the days activities were a bit more subdued. Rain ponchos and good spirits got us going.

We started by visiting the #1 bookstore in Portugal (#3 in the world after those in San Francisco and Buenos Aires), called Livrario Lello. It is famous as one of the inspirations for Hogwarts School in Harry Potter, which makes it a magnet for thousands of icon-seeking tourists every day. Although small, it is very charming and fantastic with finely detailed woodwork, a flamboyant crimson staircase and a stained glass ceiling! Fortunately for us, we got there early enough to avoid the 2-block line-ups we had seen a couple of days earlier. An entry fee of 5€ is deducted from your purchase which certainly encourages visitors to purchase something (good marketing).

Monica and I went from there on our own to look for some artwork as a travel souvenir of Porto. We found a lovely lithograph of a typical Porto street scene onto which the artist has applied gold leaf to accentuate the building windows and lamp lights. In another shop, I found a little painted rooster to add to my menagerie. The rooster is the national emblem of Portugal and legend tells of a dead rooster’s miraculous intervention in saving a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. These souvenirs are found everywhere here… most are made of plastic or glass but this one is metal (safer to transport).

As respite from the rain, we ducked momentarily into the beautiful Igreja Carmo with its exterior side wall fully covered in Azuelo tiles depicting scenes of the founding of the Carmelite order of monks. The interior is also ornately gilded with several side chapels and statues of saints.

We carried on down the streets to the river, window shopping as we went and enjoying the colorful and sometimes strange street art. We found a quaint lunch spot on the river front at Chez Lapin and ordered the cod cakes and grilled chorizo sausage which arrived at our table in flames. I was instructed by the waiter to continue cooking it myself rotisserie style… it was very good and, as usual, came with bread, olives and wine.

Back to the apartment to dry out and relax. Towards evening, my tummy was still off from lunch (too much bread and grease I think) so I opted out of dinner. Monica stayed home with me while Maneau and Jake strolled to a nearby burger restaurant, Honorato Clerigos.

Here are the photo highlights of Day 17 – A Rainy Day in Porto

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