7th November 2014
Finally a sunny day. We were beginning to think we were in Devon with the amount of wet stuff we have been getting. We have a new feature starting today we have imaginatively titled Tourist Tips where we will give tips to future tourists. We think this is needed as we have become exasperated with our Lonely Planet guides, which are dreadful.
We started in Viana De Castelo (no relation to Elvis) went to the market town of Barcelos, for the market and then on to Porto.
Tourist Tip: We went on a Motorway with electronic tolling. Went to Post Office to pay and chap said, “Foreign Vehicle?” “yep” I replied. ‘then don’t bother as they won’t chase you for it” says Postie. Result. So if you have a non-Portuguese registered vehicle then you can use their motorways for free. Not that I am advocating this in any way.
Viana De Castelo.
Spent a pleasant day here wondering around. It has a Copula on top of the hill you can reach by Funicular. The views down the coast are impressive but not comparable to Rio as the tourist blurb tries to make out. The town itself is worth an hour or two of your time and the beaches to the South are excellent.
Tourist Tip: Parking is difficult and requires payment. Drive to the top of the hill and park for free and use the Funicular.
Some Pictures Of Viana
Avid readers will know from my poetry the people of Portugal are not tall. But the shoes they wear. I haven’t since the like since Reg Bickerstaff donned a surgical boot to cure his club foot. See what I mean.
I never thought The Ugg could be surpassed for Foot ugliness on a Woman but these style gurus have managed it.
This part of Portugal is known for its markets and Barcelos is the Daddy. Barcelos is also the place where the Portuguese obsession with the chicken started, ending up as their national emblem. I am not going to bore with the details here but it involves a Pilgrim, a cock and a rich toff. Draw your own conclusions. The market is big and consists mainly of women’s clothes and veg. You can get live foul if you wish. We bought bread. It was raining solid so we didn’t stay long, changed our plans and headed for Porto. Sorry Braga, we didn’t get there.
OK, any town that specialises in selling Port is going to get our attention. Especially as on the first day it was raining and we needed an indoor activity. We decided on the sublime Port and Chocolate tasting package at Kopke Port House. This is a white, rose, ruby, and a couple of Tawny Ports and a large portion of chocolate. They were superb, every last one. And all taken in a private tasting room with views of Porto. After we headed to a cocktail bar for a couple of cocktails before dinner and the bus home, we think the last bit is what happened although it is a bit hazy.
Today, the sun came out and we could appreciate beauty of Porto. We took a walk across the high level bridge before ambling around the ancient Riberia district. At first we thought it had a touch of Bristol about it, but it doesn’t. It is more like Havana or Rio. It is good to see the ancient part is still inhabited by the working class and not rich toffs as in most cities. So its hats off to Porto. We like. Even managed to have lunch at £3 a head. This is £2 less than Tracy spent on a bar of chocolate.
The packaging was nice
Before we go and head up the Duoro I’ll leave you with some Pictures of Porto and a tourist tip.
Tourist Tip: For thrills and excitement get the 906 Bus from Madalena to Porto. As you can imagine every bus driver thinks he is Ayton Senna and the bus route does a great impression of nemesis at Alton Towers. They hurtle the bus through streets only millimetres wider than the bus. Pedestrians run for cover as these babies aint gonna stop for no man. All for !.75 Euros. Great value in a great town