Porto sandwiched between two days at sea April 11, 12, 13, 2022

We leave Malaga in the evening and go to bed in calm seas and awaken in the middle of the night to very rough seas. During this period of time we have passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Our whole day at sea we are grabbing hold of the railings in the hallways especially down near the two ends of the ship. We try to dine on the lower decks and nearer to the middle of the ship. But mostly what we do is sleep. We are like drugged asleep. Every time I wake up, I lose the struggle to stay awake. I guess I was tired!

But of course that does not keep us from eating! We have dinner at The Restaurant. Sarah has a first course of chopped livers and John and I have eggplant involtini. This is followed by a ribeye steak for Sarah and sea bass for us. We are eating dessert tonight! Sarah orders tarte tatin and we have creme brulee.

It is somewhat less rocky on our second night and we reach Porto around 8 AM on Tuesday 4/12. Today we are doing Porto Walk and Port Tasting. Our guide is Jorge. We have had great weather so far on the trip and it will continue that way for the rest of the trip with the exception of Porto. Shortly after we start our walking tour it starts pouring. Even with umbrellas it is hard to stay dry! Our guide tries to point out famous landmarks as we scuttle along.

Umbrellas and the famous Clerigos Clock Tower, mid-18th century

People lining up and paying to get into the Lello Bookshop in Porto. It is said that it was the inspiration for Harry Potter’s library in Hogwarts. J..K. Rowling lived in Porto and taught English in the early 1990s.

To escape the rain and use the restrooms we head into the Porto train station. Porto buildings are heavily decorated with tiles. Due to the proximity of the river and sea the tiles are more expensive but hold up much better than paint.

The rainstorm only lasts about a half an hour although it seems to have dumped more rain in that amount of time than we had all of February in California! We head down the hill towards the Duoro River taking in the sights.

Streets heading down to the river
Mary and Sarah in Porto

Apartment building covered in tiles. Due to the complicated timings and heat for firing the different colors of tiles many of the designs we see are mostly only two colored.
Craftsmen in Porto are known for their fine gold filigree work

Once down by the river we walk along for a ways admiring the port sellers across the river. We are heading towards a bridge I have walked across before. I was not keen about doing it before and I am not keen on doing it today. At least we stay on the lower level.

There are six bridges in Porto that cross the Duoro River. This one has a pedestrian path on the lower level and carries trains on the upper level. (That’s Sarah walking ahead of me.)

After crossing the Duoro River we are on the side of the city of Gaia. The sky is turning a bright blue as we continue our walk towards one of the port manufacturers.

Looking back at Porto from across the river at the medieval section of Ribeira.

The boats in the foreground are the traditional port carriers. They are only used now for holidays.

We enter the Calem port manufacturers where we will try some port. There is quite a bit of waiting around as many tour groups are enjoying their sips. Before the tasting we listen to an explanation about port making and storage. Finally we get to sit down(!) and sample two different ports, a fine white port (which I really like) and a reserve tawny port. I wish we could take some home but we have no room in our suitcases.

John wishes that cardboard man was holding the real thing!

A giant port barrel over 100 years old!

Sarah and John enjoying the white port
These are the two ports we tried and also Sarah’s elegant neck.

Once outside we take some pictures of ourselves and someone offers to take one of the three of us. Then we have a walk along the river to get back to the bus. It is amazing how tiring all this walking and standing is..

Sarah and Mary in front of Calem port winery

The three of us in Porto

Luckily Sarah and I make it back in time for tea!

We have not eaten many of the sweets but the little sandwiches are quite yummy!

On Wednesday 4/13 we have another at sea day. The sea has calmed down a bit so sleeping and walking around is easier. I did not take any pictures today but John’s notes assure me that we managed to eat breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner!

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