Peaches Prattlings











{October 21, 2015}   Day 5…Porto..A walking tour…Wine tastings and more!

Another alarm? Seriously? I thought this was a vacation!

This one wasn’t too bad, 8:30am, for a very good reason, a walking tour! At 10am we were meeting our guide for a three hour tour, sounds ominous, like Gilligan’s Island, but no boat! We packed up our things as we were changing rooms, we couldn’t wait to see what this next one would be like!

We headed out towards the square to meet our tour guide and while we were waiting we had a bit of tea, coffee and pastries for breakfast, hmm..I think I could get used to this!

Our guide was there about 10:00 and the first thing we did was tour the bookstore two doors down. It would cost 3euros to get in, why? Because this was one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and it was the inspiration for Hogwarts in Harry Potter, more specifically, the bookstore and when I tell you I get it, OMG! I got it! The first step in and my mouth dropped open!
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One of the amazing things is that everything is made of plaster and painted to look like wood, it was astounding! We couldn’t believe it! Apparently JK Rowling spent a lot of time in there and it was one of the things that inspired her. It cost 3 euros because people would come in, look around, gawk, take photos and never buy anything. If you paid the entrance and decided to buy something, you got 3 euros off your purchase, easy enough!
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Our first stop was a church, we were going to visit many churches and cathedrals. The Church of Carmel was beautiful, ornate and over the top in the Rococo style, the church next to it was The Church of the Carmelitas was in the Baroque style. Now, the kicker was, you couldn’t have two churches right next to each other, attached, as it were, so…in between the two churches was the most narrow house ever! And with the house, you could have the two churches next to each other!
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Next was the old prison which is now the Museum of Photography. Can you believe it! Men were downstairs in one room, women were on the second level in one pretty big room and the wealthy had rooms upstairs, private with furniture, that they supplied and maid service, imagine that!
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The mug shot was invented in Porto out of necessity as people would give false names when they would present in prison, so they started taking photos with numbers so they would be identified, three strike rule.

Next was a fabulous tower that we might climb tomorrow! This was on the former site where they would hang the prisoners! Next was the cathedral on the hill, Se do Porto, truly striking and something to behold from far and wide.
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We walked along what was left of the wall of the city and I’m very proud of PSM, who is not fond of heights by any means, walk along the wall and not back out, there was only one side to the wall, the other side was a steep drop down!
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Our guide was fabulous, so much knowledge and it turns out, one of the reasons is that he is a teacher of history! How lucky were we?

Now, it’s three hours later and time for lunch! We find a place to eat and PSM decides he is ready for something else to check off his list…Portuguese sausage and check it off he did, with a mini bottle of wine, he’s beginning to like this stuff!
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After lunch we headed to the Ramos Pinto Winery for a tasting. We, yes, I said we, tasted a flight of wines. There were five port wines to taste. Two whites, White Porto and Lagrima Branco, and three reds, Ruby Porto, Adriana Reserva and Tawny 10 Anos. They brought over the five glasses and a booklet telling us how to view, taste and savor the wines.
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PSM took it seriously and got into each one and began to have a serious appreciation. I, on the other hand, gave it my best shot and haven’t changed my mind about wine, but I do have a better understanding. We  left that winery, got some roasted chestnuts and headed to another winery for a free tasting. Along the way, we stopped into an artists co-op that was fabulous! We bought a few things and that came with a single tasting, it was ok. Then on to another free tasting, this was for a shot of two different types of port wine.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, all this tasting at different places took several hours, spaced out nicely. But this is Europe after all and when in Rome…

After the last tasting, we headed up the funicular to the top of the steps and walked to the train station to inquire about tickets to our next destination! I completely forgot to tell you about two places we went!

The first was the train station, it used to be a convent!! It was absolutely beautiful, especially the tiles depicting different moments in history! The gardens became the area where the trains come in.
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The other is the McDonald’s. At one time it was voted the most beautiful McDonald’s in the world! It was at one time a cafe and it was mandated to stay that way, can you imagine!
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After that train station, we had to go back to the station we first arrived at, yesterday! Can you believe it! Because we needed the international agent, tell ya tomorrow!

Now, it’s about 8:00 and we’re a bit hungry, to say the least. We are going to try vegan in Portugal. This place was open about a year and I don’t know if authentic Portuguese food can be made vegan, but I was happy with my cheese dog! It was nice and they had a homemade hot sauce that made PSM happy. Too bad they don’t sell it!

Back towards the hotel and a stop for an after dinner wine, tea and some sweets and here we are!

Are you tired? I am, but no alarm! Wahoo!!



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