A Day in Porto – Part 1

(Tiles are amazing here… even in the free leaflets)

We arrived in Porto on Friday afternoon and drove across the river Douro to Gaia. Yes it’s called Gaia! We were staying at the wildlife park, Parque Biológico de Gaia. We stayed here last year too. The year before we missed out on staying because they were full so now we email them the night before to book a spot.

(Nest building in progress at the park)

The sun was shining so we went for a walk in the park… the charge for the night at the motor home area includes free entry and it’s a lovely place to walk even without all the animals. Afterwards it was still warm and I sat outside surrounded by trees and birdsong writing the blog – first time on this trip.

(Here’s how to keep the vermin away from your corn. The storage shed is balancing on the circular discs so that climbing creatures won’t be able to climb up and eat your corn. A farm exhibit at the park)

On our way here I searched the internet for interesting things to do in Porto. This would be our third time visiting and although I’m happy to just wander and eat and take photos it was time to get to know the place a bit better. So by the time we arrived I had booked and paid for a Porto food and wine tasting tour for Saturday afternoon.

(All done while driving along the road. Note: I wasn’t driving…)

On Saturday morning we left the park at 9.45am via the side gate that led to a death defying footbridge (slight exaggeration) over the main road. The bus came along 4 minutes later and for €2.20 each we travelled to Porto. We had a list of things to do before our tour at 3pm so we got right to it… after coffee.

(People queuing to get into the Majestic Cafe, Porto. There was a queue there all day)

There are two different toll systems in Portugal for the motorways. One with toll booths and one with cameras over the road that read your number plate. If you’re not from Portugal you have to register your number plate. Two years ago we did that at the border. Then last year we realised we had loads of extra credit at the end of the year so this year we have been happily driving on the number plate reader motorways since we arrived on Wednesday.

(More tiles… some missing)

For some reason something was niggling me about it and we decided to check online… our balance is only €6.10! We need to top up. No problem we know you can top up at the post office and we know where the post office is in Porto. The post office has moved! It moved in January. No problem, there was a sign with the addresses of two others. We walked to the closest. It was closed on Saturdays. So was the furthest one. The one at the airport was open… we didn’t go to the airport. We had lunch instead.

(This cafe was called Garden. I was taking a picture of the art but also got a picture of a guy taking a picture of his love… of food)

We did plan on eating nothing after breakfast in preparation for our tour but the stress of possibly becoming outlaws again made me hungry. It’s a weird thing – the number plate reading toll collector – although very efficient at reading our number plate, not so efficient at allowing us to pay.

Next blog may be from a police station… Mairead.