Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Porto’s Feast for the Senses

A getaway where it’s tempting to stay



 



Portugal is eye-candy country – and no place more so than Porto, the city which gave its name to port, the popular dessert wine. Located at the mouth of the Duoro River, its pastel buildings with red tile roofs climb steep hills. Magnificent churches sport curlicued spires and impressive domes. And everywhere are examples of the iconic ceramic tiles of Portugal – colorful displays that sometimes cover entire buildings.
 

 I’m a big fan of hop-on, hop-off bus tours when exploring a new location. We bought a two-day ticket for Yellow Bus Tours, and found it not only helped getting to all the sites we wanted to visit, but also gave us a good overview of newer parts of the city. (Plus, by saving our ticket receipts, we saved 10 percent on our bus tickets in Lisbon.)

Traveling with family means give and take – we each had some “must sees” on our lists: Husband Jack wanted to take a river cruise, daughter Zoe had her eye on the Marionette Museum and I wanted to see everything.

We started with a walk past the Chapel of Souls, a church wrapped in ceramic murals of the lives – and mostly the deaths – of St. Francis and St. Catherine. Running south from there is Rua Santa Catarina, a major shopping/eating street, and one we often used on our route to and from the apartment.

To get the flavor of the city, we visited Bolhão Market, since 1839 the place to buy fresh fish, produce, flowers, meat and much more. Portugal has about one-third of the world’s cork oak forests and produces half of the cork used in the world, which meant several stalls carried items– from jewelry to purses – made from it.

The nearby Avenida dos Aliados is a major boulevard through the area. Reminiscent of the Ringstrasse in Vienna, it is a wide thoroughfare with park-like medians. Sidewalk cafes and high-end shops line the sides of the streets. Even the sidewalks are beautiful, with black and white tile designs.

The first stop on our open-top, double decker bus tour was one of my musts: the Livraria Lello, a 1906 Belle Epoque beauty said to be the oldest bookstore in Porto. The crown jewel of its fantastic art nouveau interior is an elaborate double staircase. It’s such a popular attraction that you have to buy a ticket to go inside, but you get your money back if your purchase exceeds the entry fee.      

 

Livaria Lello is not only an architectural wonder; it’s a great book shop.


 

 It was a short walk to a two-fer – two magnificent cathedrals almost side by side. The older of the two, the Igreja dos Carmelitas, was built in the 17th century and was the church of the Carmelite nuns. Though rather plain on the outside, the inside is lavishly decorated. The newer church, Igreja do Carmo, was built in Baroque style in the 18th century, and monks lived in its monastery. The interior, with seven altars, glitters with gold. The east exterior wall is covered with azuelos (tiles), creating a blue and white mural depicting the founding of the Carmelite order.

In between the two is what might be the world’s narrowest house. Just over a yard wide, it was occupied until the 1980s. Its purpose was to serve as an architectural bundling board between the nuns and the monks.

Back on the bus, we headed to the Ribiera district, the oldest and most traditional part of Porto. Across the Duoro, which is spanned here by a bridge designed by a partner of Gustave Eiffel, is Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the port houses.

We discovered that even in the off-season, advance reservations to tour are a necessity. Not having the time to wait, we settled for a visit to the Calem tasting room, enjoying a sampling of several kinds of port.

More bus touring the next day brought us near the Museu das Marionetas, but when we arrived, it was closed for two hours for lunch. Fortunately, across the narrow street we found a tiny café, Puorto, which turned out to be a treasure. Barely two tables wide, it specialized in sandwiches including the francesinha, a local tradition. Supposedly brought to Portugal by a returning emigrant, it bears a slight resemblance to a croque monsieur. It features a variety of meats between two slices of bread, cheese on top, drenched in a tomato/beer gravy and often capped with a fried egg. Do not leave Porto without trying one.

The Marionette Museum proved to be fascinating; while children may enjoy puppets, there’s a big adult audience for the productions of the company associated with the museum. Though small, the museum’s collection included a good variety, from glove puppets to giant figures. Productions range from folk tales to Shakespeare and Beckett.

 

The Duoro riverside in Gaia offers a great view of Porto.


 

Our last day in Porto was given to a cruise on the Duoro River. The local visitors’ bureau had suggested a Barcaduoro vessel. We met at the Bento train station – worth a visit to see the azuelos even if you’re not catching a train – and took a two- hour trip to Régua, before boarding the boat to cruise back to Porto.

It was early November, and the weather was perfect. Trees were still green; the steep hillsides were zig-zagged with terraced vines. (The Duoro valley is famous for its grapes, particularly the ones used in making port.) The five-hour trip was restful, punctuated with insights from the guide. We were served a hearty lunch, traveled through locks on the river and enjoyed the peaceful countryside.

We arrived at the pier in Gaia at sunset. Grabbing a cab, we traveled over Eiffel’s bridge, the Dom Luis, back to Rua Santa Catarina and one of the most famous restaurants in Porto, the Majestic Cafe. With a history going back to the ’20s, this art nouveau stunner provided a majestic coda to our trip.

Three days was not enough to spend in this delightful city. Usually, I’m looking forward to my next destination. Porto will keep me looking back.

 

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Friends to Follow

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2018

The Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center presents its 9th annual Whole Person Indoor Triathlon. This Super Sprint Triathlon is perfect for first time Triathletes while still being challenging for...

Cost: $25, $35, $45

Where:
Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

Join us for the Sunday matinee of the world premiere run of The Vaudevillian, a new opera by Thomas Pasatieri! The backstage backstory dramatizes the rise and fall of American...

Cost: $14/20/28

Where:
Oklahoma City University's Kirkpatrick Auditorium
2501 N Blackwelder Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City University's Wanda L. Bass School of Music
Telephone: 405.208.5227
Contact Name: Abigail Litjens
Website »

More information

OU University Theatre and Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre present Nice Work If You Can Get It. Music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin; Book by Joe DiPietro Lyn Cramer, Director;...

Cost: $10-40

Where:
Elsie C. Brackett Theatre
563 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: OU University Theatre
Telephone: 405.325.4101
Contact Name: OU Fine Arts Box Office
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

Local professional singers of Opera on Tap present "It's Never Too Late for French (toast)," a late night of brunch, burgers, and French music. Love brunch? Love live music? For...

Cost: Free

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 W Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: NOIR Bistro & Bar
Telephone: 405.208.4233
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Parish Lenten Mission with Fr. Joe Creedon Monday, February 19:  Examine your vision, and what you are willing to do to develop that vision into...

Cost: Free

Where:
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
900 S Boulevard
Edmond, OK  73034
View map »


Telephone: 405.340.0691
Contact Name: Stephanie Graham
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

USAO's Meet the Candidates series, sponsored by the Nita R. Giles Public Policy Program, continues on March 6 with Republican and Oklahoma Lt. Governor, Todd Lamb. Lamb will give a short...

Cost: Free

Where:
USAO Ballroom
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1216
Contact Name: Dr. Kevin Crow
Website »

More information

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Parish Lenten Mission with Fr. Joe Creedon Monday, February 19:  Examine your vision, and what you are willing to do to develop that vision into...

Cost: Free

Where:
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
900 S Boulevard
Edmond, OK  73034
View map »


Telephone: 405.340.0691
Contact Name: Stephanie Graham
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

Grace Grothaus and Rena Detrixhe are transforming the second floor of Oklahoma Contemporary’s Showroom with the multisensory installation Wake. This exhibit highlights the interplay of water,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom
1146 N Broadway Drive
Ok, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

ORU takes on Omaha, and the Mabee Center Box Office will be open at 10 a.m.  All children ages 13 and under, accompanied by an adult, will be allowed in to all 2017-18...

Cost: $9

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.7ORU
Website »

More information

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Parish Lenten Mission with Fr. Joe Creedon Monday, February 19:  Examine your vision, and what you are willing to do to develop that vision into...

Cost: Free

Where:
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
900 S Boulevard
Edmond, OK  73034
View map »


Telephone: 405.340.0691
Contact Name: Stephanie Graham
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Oklahoma Farmers Market & Agritourism Conference seeks to increase the availability of local food in Oklahoma communities, strengthen existing farmers markets and Agritourism sites and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Tower Hotel
3233 Northwest Expy
Oklahoma City , OK  73112
View map »


Sponsor: ONIE Project
Contact Name: Maria Andrade
Website »

More information

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

Grace Grothaus and Rena Detrixhe are transforming the second floor of Oklahoma Contemporary’s Showroom with the multisensory installation Wake. This exhibit highlights the interplay of water,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom
1146 N Broadway Drive
Ok, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

Since 1993, this amazing group has been combining music, theater and acrobatics to create moving performances filled with magic and emotion. Based on the multidisciplinary talents of its artists,...

Cost: $39

Where:
OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center
7777 S May Ave
OKC, OK  73159
View map »


Telephone: 405.682.7579
Website »

More information

A world premiere theatre piece hits Oklahoma with an inter-dimensional art show: “The Cowboy Who Fell From The Sky” - an immersive, post-apocalyptic, pop-up folk concert....

Cost: $20

Where:
OK Shakespeare In The Park On Paseo
2920 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »


Contact Name: Michael Todd
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

Grace Grothaus and Rena Detrixhe are transforming the second floor of Oklahoma Contemporary’s Showroom with the multisensory installation Wake. This exhibit highlights the interplay of water,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom
1146 N Broadway Drive
Ok, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

The Roadshow is coming to Tulsa! This year's tour features Christian music favorites For King & Country, Matthew West, Natalie Grant, Bethel Music, Zach Williams, and Social Club Misfits....

Cost: $10

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Website »

More information

A world premiere theatre piece hits Oklahoma with an inter-dimensional art show: “The Cowboy Who Fell From The Sky” - an immersive, post-apocalyptic, pop-up folk concert....

Cost: $20

Where:
OK Shakespeare In The Park On Paseo
2920 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »


Contact Name: Michael Todd
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Dr. Nathan Brown, former Oklahoma Poet Laureate (2013-14), has been keeping journals since he was 12 years old, and they're the basis for this new exhibit at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center...

Cost: $6 adults (see website for all prices)

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
www.onthechisholmtrail.com
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni
Website »

More information

Grace Grothaus and Rena Detrixhe are transforming the second floor of Oklahoma Contemporary’s Showroom with the multisensory installation Wake. This exhibit highlights the interplay of water,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom
1146 N Broadway Drive
Ok, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s newest art exhibit, “Prairie Moderns: The Artwork of Don Holladay,” will open in the Nesbitt Gallery with a reception that is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Nesbitt Gallery
1727 West Alabama
Chickasha, OK  73018
View map »


Sponsor: University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.574.1301
Contact Name: Layne Thrift
Website »

More information

A world premiere theatre piece hits Oklahoma with an inter-dimensional art show: “The Cowboy Who Fell From The Sky” - an immersive, post-apocalyptic, pop-up folk concert....

Cost: $20

Where:
OK Shakespeare In The Park On Paseo
2920 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »


Contact Name: Michael Todd
Website »

More information

In 1968, the Oklahoma Art Center, OKCMOA’s predecessor, purchased the 150-piece permanent collection of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, the first art museum in the nation’s...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags