Ian and Danielle are heading off for 6 glorious weeks - leaving Angus in charge (questionable) of Coco, the house and himself!
  • Day38

    On the Trail of Street Art

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Luckily we only had to walk about fifty metres from the restaurant to our meeting place at São Bento train station for our street art tour with Afonso. There were supposed to be 7 of us, but only 5 turned up. So, after waiting for about 10 minutes, we headed off to explore the city of Porto and see some wonderful street art. We were joined on the tour by Jennifer and Jean from Canada, and Sylvie from France.

    The first thing Afonso showed us we would’ve walked past without even noticing it, as you have to look up. This project was the brainchild of
    Miguel Januário, a Porto street artist. It was backed by the city, and involved many people contributing to the work by making tiles which adorn the building of a rock club called BARRACUDA - Clube De Roque. All the tiles respond to the question - “Who are you Porto?”

    Afonso took us through the narrow and winding streets of Porto, pointing out the art work of CostaH, Hazul, Miguel Januário, Vhils, Guaté Mao, The Kuhn Kid, Gregor and my name is Sam. It was a great afternoon that finished with a coffee at a really great antique/bric brac/coffee and wine bar. The two people who didn’t turn up bumped into us about half way through the tour - Caryn and Christopher, Americans from Long Island who had got caught up in traffic on their way into town from Braga. It was serendipitous that Caryn heard Afonso explaining a piece of art to us on the bridge, and so asked if he was leading the street art tour. They joined us for the second half and were lots of fun.

    There was so much wonderful art to see (and take photos of), so I have included an additional instalment on street art to try and cover the broad range of work we saw.
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  • Day38

    Lunch at TapaBento

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    This place was recommended to us by a nice young American couple we met on the Douro Valley tour - they said they had had the best food there since arriving in Portugal, and after eating there we tend to agree. It is a lovely restaurant with great atmosphere and fabulous staff - both front of house and in the kitchen. We enjoyed the meal so much, we made a reservation to come back the following day. We had a range of their tapas plates to share, and finished with their fabulous desserts. You would expect to get desserts of this caliber in a fine dining restaurant.Read more

  • Day38

    Tree Top Walk at Serralves

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After wandering through the gardens, we arrived at the tree top walk. There is no climbing involved, as it has been built where there was a steep decline in the garden. It is like a piece of art work amongst the trees, and has only been open for 1 month. It was a great experience and gave you another perspective of these beautiful grounds.Read more

  • Day38

    Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporãnea

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We arrived at the museum, which is set in beautiful grounds, and found our way to the ticket office. We started in the museum, where we saw part of Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition Y/OUR FUTURE IS NOW. Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist who is known for his sculptures and large scale installations, is the author of a vast and innovative body of work that focuses on the relations between humankind, nature, art, science, architecture and society.Read more

  • Day38

    Exploring More of Porto

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    We decided to head over to Vila Nova De Gaia - located on the other side of the river - early, to get some views back across to Ribeira and Porto. We caught the funicular dos Guindais, and then walked across the Ponte de D. Luis I. We also explored the Jardin Do Morro, a very popular location to watch the sunset from, something we didn’t end up doing. We then caught the metro to the Casa da Musica, a beautiful modern concert hall. We had a coffee break here, and then caught a bus to Serralves a beautiful modern museum in the most wonderful gardens. We wandered around the museum first before heading out to the gardens, which also had a number of sculptures on display. At the museum we saw the Olafur Eliasson - Your Future is Now exhibit. I have done a separate entry for Serralves.Read more

  • Day38

    Quinta de Morrocos

    October 11, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    After visiting the Croft Estate we headed to the Morrocos Estate, which is family owned and used to be an abbey. It was a very different experience to the other winery - which was slick and corporate - as it was smaller and more rustic, had more character, and definitely felt like it had more history.

    We toured the vineyards, the large vats that are used for “stomping” the grapes, and the cellars and also saw the bottling (small machine that fills 8 bottles at once) and sealing process which, together with corking, is done by hand. We then got to taste a Ruby and Tawny port , which I didn’t particularly like, but Ian seemed to enjoy. The vineyard also produces olive oil and jam. We then headed back to Porto and decided to have a light dinner.
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  • Day37

    Quinta Da Roeda - CROFT

    October 10, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    After lunch, we headed to Quinta Da Roeda, an estate owned by Croft, a large corporation that owns several estates in the Douro. It is a beautiful estate, and we had a tour with Gabriella before getting to sample some of their ports. We got to try a rosé port, which is served chilled and which I am quite partial to, then a ruby port, which I didn’t particularly like. Ian liked them all.Read more

  • Day37

    Pinháo Train Station

    October 10, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After the cruise up and down the river, Diogo took us to the local train station, which is tiled in a similar fashion to São Bento Station, just on a smaller scale. The panels here provide some history on the development of the Douro Valley, and the traditions of wine making. Diogo took us through the history of the area, before we headed off for a traditional Portuguese lunch.Read more

  • Day37

    Douro Valley

    October 10, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    Today we had booked a small tour down to the Douro Valley wine region. Our guide was Diogo, a lovely young man, who made the day very enjoyable for us all. There were eight of us in total, a couple from NYC, three women from Canada who had left their families at home with husbands in charge, and a lovely women from Miami. The van was full, and Ian and I got to ride up front on the way to the valley, which was great for the views and chatting to Diogo, but a bit crowded for our legs. We had a beautiful day, and the temperature in the Douro Valley is usually a couple of degrees warmer because they are protected from the Atlantic Ocean winds by the mountains.

    Once we arrived in the small town of Pinháo, after a quick coffee and toilet stop, we went down to the river to hop on a boat for a one hour cruise along the Douro River, past many of the wine estates. The cruise was lovely, and we even got to go up to the bridge to see things from the captain’s perspective.

    The area is so picturesque, and so there were obviously many photo opportunities.
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