Porto: The search for tea

Me and Cath went to Portugal second city Porto the home of Port wine.

After catching the Ryanair from Liverpool which landed 50 mins ahead of schedule due to strong tail-wind then taking a taxi from the airport to our accommodation we realised there are bigger nutters out there than me  🙂

 The “Residential Rex” was to be our base for the next few days. We got settled in after the guy behind the reception had his little joke with English tourists by trying to convince us he had not received the reservation, and they were full. Hardeee har har har very funny man with big black fuzzy ear plugs :o).

The room was good but had the noisiest bed you could imagine, you only had to sit on it and you could wake somebody up across the square!!!! The room was just was missing one vital component, a kettle and tea bags pffff.

Starving, we went out to a restaurant recommended by ear plug guy. Looked a little posh but hell, in for a penny, in for a pound, after a shaky start and a few beers later we felt fluent in Portuguese.

The next morning we ventured out to take in the sights of Porto. After a brief stop at tourist info we were ready to start ticking off venues on the tourist itinerary. 1st thing 1st though a cup of tea.

Now you wouldn’t think it would be so hard to get a cup of dried leaves with hot water on would you?? But in a predominantly coffee drinking nation it was a challenge.

Upon our 1st attempt to secure a cuppa we discovered a yummy breakfast which consisted of a croissant split in 2 and have cheese and ham inserted into it and then toasted in a George Forman, very yummy and a major part of breakfast from then on. However the tea, (I use the word “tea” in the loosest fashion) was more like dish water and the milk was warm!!!! the cheek of it!!!

From there we left and climbed a big church tower thing, looked at lots of buildings with pretty murals on the side. Took some interesting routes off the beaten track and into the back streets of Porto where we saw some interesting sights.

We finally hit the main hub of activity which was the River quay which on one side is a collection of fish restauraunts, bars and tatty sea side shops along with numerous companies trying to get you on a boat to take you up and down the river.

We got talked into taking a boat trip which takes you to look at, get this, Bridges!! 5 of them!! riveting 🙂 but give us chance to work on our tans and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  We got dropped on the other side of the river which is the main business centre of Porto’s economy, the Porto wine cellars. here we just popped into tourist info and got some bus maps and enquired for destinations away from the city on the coast. from there we went and crossed the bridge back which is 2 levels we took the top one, at the dizzy heights high above the Douro the thought of jumping it alpine style was soon dismissed by my much more level headed and sensible girlfriend 🙂 I think even Greenwood would have 2nd and 3rd thoughts on this one 🙂

 That evening we went to a little restaurant which was recommended by the tourist info people. A very quaint little place and learned what Cod was in the local lingo. We had a game of menu roulette, seeing we were both fully fluent in the lingo we just chose what looked interesting and they were (kind of how my mum picks horses for the national by their names, but she always wins) .

The next day dawned and the search for tea continued, whatever it was it was not tea, and they didn’t even  have milk warm or cold pfffff.

We headed down to the river and caught a bus to the coast. I will give it to the Portuguese they can get a bus through any street. Upon reaching the coast my tea meter was running very very empty after this mornings floral delight, success though there was a cafe and it did very weak tea with warm UHT milk yum yum

The coast was cool, a rocky/sandy beach with some pretty impressive surf pounding the coast line after a spot of lunch we could resist no longer and were playing in the waves, afterwards just sitting above the tide mark a huge wave came, plucking Cath from the beach and depositing her 5 meters further up the beach leaving her looking all soggy and disgruntled 🙂 i would have taken a picture but was too busy trying to stop my sides from splitting 🙂

 The next day we ventured down into town again and the tea was getting better we decided to play on the metro and go out to a cascade park on the other side of town. upon reaching it it was full of ankle biters all in their own little tribes  of different coloured hats and they were feeding, just what they needed more E-numbers. The park was cool full of eucalyptus trees and such, there was a huge lake with loads of cat fish in it swimming around upsetting the ducks by nibbling their feet and a huge terrapin. the cascade thing was really just a building with a waterfall feature type thing out side with various water jets and cascades very pretty but full of sugar high kids!

 Upon returning to town we went down to river quay and after politely telling the umpteen touts that we have already seen the bridges and would not like another cruise we hit the wine cellars and commenced operation wine tasting, the 1st one we did was the Sandeman cellars, which is ports version of Guinness in the way they are a large corporate set up but the tour is still like the Guinness one in Dublin used to be as your actually amongst the working bits and bobs, not just looking at billboards.

Did you know there are 3 classifications of port??? and port isnt port it’s actually porto wine??

 finally we got to the tasting, very very nice, from there we went to another one which was a smaller family run one which was a boring tour but you got more Porto to try and we haggled some extras, well Cath did, you can take the student out of Liverpool……….. 🙂

 we then did another one and just skipped the tour and straight to tasting which got us an extra glass for not doing the tour, oh joy my balance was getting wobbly as it was. From there we hit the riverside fish restaurants  which was very pleasant.

Final day we moved Cath to her new accommodation a big posh hotel across the way and went about ticking off a few more sights in town. After a bite to eat and a quick beer it was time for me to head back for home and Cath was staying on for a few more days on a conference for her work.

On the plane I finally got that cup of tea .

Porto is a cool place to visit, if you Like city breaks and ticking things off its probably worth a visit. The main attraction i can see is the wine cellars and some of the restaurants. If i go again i will probably use it as a stepping stone to get deeper into Portugal but that’s me some of you guys might like doing the touristy things, but i get bored and want to get out exploring .

Take it easy pictures to follow


2 Responses

  1. “there are bigger nutters out there than me ”

    That i will always find hard to believe Will.

  2. There’s nothing like a nice cup of Yorkshire Tea is there Will!

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