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  • Day76

    Porto

    August 13, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    When we got into Porto we first grabbed a delicious meal of fried oysters and steak covered in port wine sauce at Vitória before exploring the city. Next we got tickets to go up the Clérigos tower at night since the ticket line is long and you need to get tickets in advance. We then went to the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal. Upon arrival we were greeted by a bunch of peacocks and peahens! After watching the birds for a while we explored the rest of the park, enjoying the beautiful gardens and the views of the city. We then went to the hostel for dinner. We stayed at the same chain as we did in Lisbon where they serve a 4 course meal with unlimited drinks for 10 euro. The food was also really good, but I thought the meal was slightly better in Lisbon. We had to leave before the dessert was served to make our tower reservation in time, which was a shame but the views from the tower made it worth it. The top of Clérigos tower had great views of the city and it wasn’t overly crowded which made it a very peaceful experience. At the top it listed other famous towers heights such as the Empire state building in comparison to the Clérigos tower, and the Clérigos tower was about 1/4th the height of the other ones listed. We all thought it was really funny and self aware that they did this. When we were done with the tower we decided to get McFlurrys since we missed out on dessert. My friend Luis told me that Porto was his favorite city he’s ever visited and when I asked what he liked there he said that the McDonald’s was insane. I never had someone recommend a McDonald’s to me before so I knew we had to try it out! It was definitely the fanciest McDonald’s I’ve ever been in! It’s called “Imperial Mcdonalds” and there were chandeliers hanging from the ceilings with classy art all along the walls. Very boujee. I’ve probably now been to more McDonalds while in Europe than in the last 10 years of my life total. I guess I have to keep connected to my American roots somehow! We then went back to the hostel to watch an episode of the twilight zone since Grant had never seen one before. I crashed before the episode even begun. I was pretty tuckered out so I was okay with missing the show. The next morning we started our day at a nearby cafe for brunch with a tasty assortment of cakes for dessert afterwards. Yum! We then went on a Port wine tour which took us to 3 different cellars where we got to try 7 different wines. The first stop was also a bit of a museum where we had a guide give us a 30 minute tour explaining how Port wine is made, and the difference between a white, red, rosé, and tawny port wine. They had many helpful visuals to allow us to see things such as the difference in colors of the different types of wine. At the end of the tour we tried a white and tawny. The tawny here was my favorite of the wines we tried. Next we went to another smaller cellar and had an additional tawny. We ended our tour at our favorite place, Porto Cruz. This place had the goal of making wine more accessible to younger people, and it had cool decorations a beautiful rooftop view. Here we had 4 wines, a white, rosé, tawny, and reserve red. By the end of this we were all happy and buzzed since port wine is more alcoholic than normal wine since it includes brandy! For comparison, Port wine typically has 18-20% alcohol content. My kind of wine! When the tour was over we made our way to the famous Lello bookstore. Lello is famous for being one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It’s true claim to fame is that JK Rowling’s spent a lot of time writing Harry Potter in this store, and it’s where she drew inspiration from for the Hogwarts library. This is definitely the biggest tourist trap in Porto with lines usually taking around 30 minutes. Luckily we only had to wait around 15 minutes to get in since it was right before closing time. We purchased our tickets earlier in the day to break up our time waiting in line. You have to pay 5 euros to go inside this small bookstore which seems pretty crazy, but you can use this 5 euro towards a book purchase in store which is nice. I wound up buying a book of short stories by Fitzgerald so the 5 euro went to good use! The bookstore was very small yet beautiful. It felt very touristy with tons of people taking pictures on the staircase, but I’ve come to expect that at these kinds of places. Next we went to get Porto’s famous sandwich, Francesinha , for dinner. Usually, a francesinha is made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça (a portuguese sausage), steak or roast beef, everything covered with melted cheese and a special tomato and beer sauce. Mine also had a fried egg on top. It was absolutely amazing!! For sure one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had! The whole thing was huge and was practically a heart attack served on a platter, but it was worth every bite! When we were done with our glutton fest we called it an early night to prepare for an early morning on canyoning the next day!Read more