Day 39: GuimarãesMarch 26, 2017 in Portugal
Time for a day trip, and a UNESCO day trip at that! Guimarães is a small town about 40 minutes to the north-east of Porto, and it's UNESCO listed because the town has a great mix of Renaissance buildings and is essentially undisturbed from that era. So we jumped in the car and headed off in fairly wet weather.
First stop was the castle, which sort of pre-dates the town. It's actually considered to be the birthplace of modern Portugal, as the first king of Portugal (Afonso Henriques) was born here, and it was just outside the walls where a key battle in Portugal's independence was fought. The castle was fairly small, though the walls and keep were in great condition. Did a bit of filming though the wind and drizzle were a continual pain in the neck.
Also checked out a nearby palace that was impressive but much newer - 16th century I think. It had fallen into disuse until the mid-20th century when the dictator of Portugal (Salazar) had it renovated and turned into an official residence of the President.
Back into town where we had a look around the main square and the little alleyways. Had lunch at a tapas restaurant with decent food, though because of Schnitzel we had to sit outside and it was very cold! Being a Sunday, most of the shops were closed and once we'd exhausted the square and the outside of the main church there wasn't a whole lot to see.
We found a shop selling local speciality pastries so we bought a few of those and then drove to a look-out point up above the town with a good view. Ate pastries in the car as it was raining, before we braved it outside and had a quick look from the proper viewpoint. Couple of shrines to Mother Mary and a gorgeous red-and-white mobile phone tower. Back to Porto we went!
Back home by 3pm, a bit early than planned and slightly disappointed with how the day had panned out. But I guess they can't all be winners! It was still raining, quite heavily at times, so we turned the heater up and got busy with planning the next steps and editing some videos.
Headed out later for dinner, found a burger restaurant about 5 minutes walk away. Had another Francesinha since I like to live dangerously, though this one was burger-style and had a meat patty, ham and small Portuguese sausages instead of the usual fillings. And a basket of pomme noisettes instead of fries, nice change! We also got a complimentary spinach croquette and codfish noisette as an appetiser.
Back home in the rain to a very happy but warm and snug dog. Overall we've enjoyed Porto, perhaps even moreso than Lisbon I think. It's a great city with a lot happening, though it's just a shame the weather hasn't really co-operated for us - we haven't had a day without rain since the trip to Cascais almost a week earlier. But weather is the one thing you can't control I suppose!Read more