Hello again, Blogonauts!
Once we emerged from the grapevine-entwined hills that surround the Rio Douro, our first destination was Aveiro, a former port whose harbor has long ago silted in. What remains is a charming little city with canals and waterways that are better suited to gondolas than deep-draft ships. However, we had not said our last good by to the Douro.
Our true aim was to see Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, which sits near the river's outlet into the sea.
So on Friday morning we departed Aveiro by train to reach Porto's main train station, a building whose walls are covered with extraordinary artistic tile work. Porto did not suffer the same seismic destruction that Lisbon faced in the 1750s. Therefore, the baroque architecture that crumbled during Lisbon's earthquake is still on display here. Tall church towers, ornate building facades, and everywhere, ceramic tiles of either geometric designs or grand depictions of historic events dominate the streetscape.
We found our way to the Igreja dos Clérigos or Church for the Clergy, which was built around 1750. Its bell tower is the tallest in the city. The interior and exterior are both dripping with ornate embellishments. And as luck would have it, we arrived in time to enjoy a brief organ recital.
We then wandered through the streets, visiting various other churches, eyeing architecture, sneaking a peak in souvenir shops, and grabbing lunch along the river front beneath the cafe umbrellas.
Eventually we sauntered across Porto's famous two-decker bridge to reach the port wine bodegas that line the river's southern bank. From there we caught the train back to Aveiro for a late dinner and to prepare for our return to Lisbon the next day. Enjoy the photographs!
This will be the final entry for this journey, but stay tuned for a new solo trip planned for early in 2017. Blog to you later!