Oporto February 2019
February/22th./2019 - Friday Algeciras-Seville-Oporto
We left home at 1330 bound to Seville to take the flight that should take us to Oporto in Portugal. The highway to Jerez was under improvement works which forced us to use the old "Ruta del Toro" for about twenty Kilometres, with very dense traffic and some queue due to the low speed. This slow part of the road was finally over and the normal pace of the trip was back again. According to our calculations there was still time enough to catch the plane at the Seville airport to Oporto. Maximo, Maribel and their daughter Celia were our trip-mates this time in this four days trip. They were about twenty minutes behind us in our way to the airport.
After handing over our car to the firm which was going to keep it during the four days of our mini holidays, we met our friends, got in the plane and we were in Oporto at about 1815. A van for our transfer was waiting for us at the airport to take the six of us to the apartment we rented, a charming and cozy place. It was the time for us to stroll Oporto, a beautiful place with many uphills though. Dinner time was approaching, and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to find a good restaurant, we made to Papavinhos, where Pepe, the owner of that restaurant made our stomachs feel happy and satisfied both because the quality of the food and the amount of it; worth mentioning was the attentive service received by this man, he was listening to our requests and orders during the whole dinner. The restaurant was at the bank of the Duero river, where against all forecasts, you could eat very well there. Against all forecasts means that every single restaurant at the banks of the river was made to attract people on holidays, leaving unattended the quality of food and service.
It was time for us to go back to our bed-chambers. All the way back was a terrible uphill with our stomachs full up. We used a long stairs as a shortcut to our apartment. We reached there at about 22:30 after a non-stop strolling and flying day.
At Seville airport, before embarking to Oporto
At Prapavinhos restaurant main entrance
February/23th./2019 - Saturday Oporto
Wonderful day in Oporto. There was a small bar by the place we slept called" The "Hungry Biker", English styled, where we had breakfast the six of us. It was a very pintoresque place ornamented with bicycle parts on the walls with tables and chairs made with wooden pallets. "Nuestra Señora da Vitoria" was our next destination after breakfast, just a five minutes visit just to take a couple of pictures; another church was in for agenda that day, "Sao Bento da Vitoria", where listened to a guided tour in English explained by a young Portuguese who thoroughly exposed us both the history of the place and the architectural style of the building. Besides those two aspects this guy told is about all the secrets and meaning of most of the statues, engravings and other parts of the church.
Sao Bento da Vitoria church
It was time to charge our batteries at the "Portas do Olival" cafe. We made to the railways station then, a beautiful and pintoresque building with walls covered with huge drawings on white and blue tiles, a place that does not leave indifferent to no one despite of being "only" a railways station. Next stop: the Oporto Cathedral. After paying a three euros ticket per person we enjoyed our forty five minutes visit to this sacred building.
Having tea at the "Majestic Cafe" was a compulsory thing to do in this city, a very similar place to the "New York Cafe" in Budapest, because of it's luxury, but overall because of its prices; anyway it was a level below the Hungarian stablishment.
A forty five minutes stroll led to a rest in our apartment. We went back to the Oporto streets with our empty stomachs again. Maximo, Mariana and I discovered a bar called " El Argento", some meters below our apartments. It was a place where extraordinary pies were made. Máximo bought some of these for Maribel and the girls who hadn't gone out because they were very tired. The wine and pies made Mariana and I feel like walking. And so we did. We strolled along the Duero river until the most well-known bridge in Oporto: The Don Luis I Bridge. The most difficult part was still to come for all our return way to our bed chambers was uphill.
With stomachs full, climbing up the long stairs to our destination was not the smoothest task in the world. Finally, at about 22:30 local time, we were resting after a tiring trip.
Don Luis I Bridge
Inside Majestic Cafe
February/24th./2019 - Sunday Oporto
We left our apartment at 0915. A cafe serving breakfasts resulted attractive to us and we entered to do the first meal of the day. The place was called "Forno dos Clerigos". When our stomachs were full, it was the turn of visiting "Lellos" library, well-known in Oporto because of it's wooden stairs and its relation with the saga " Harry Potter", people say that the write of these books inspired in this place for some scenes of the films. The price of the tickets was five euros and if you bought a book there, you paid five euros less of its price.
When the visit was over we made to the Duero banks in a small electric car for which we were charged twenty euros for the trip. The vehicle left us in Vila Nova de Gaia, city at the other side of the river in front Oporto. The riverside of the city was the chosen place for our morning stroll. Visiting a wine cellar was compulsory in that city and so we did. The tickets for this visit included a ride in a small boat along the river. The cellar was called "Royal Oporto" where we had the chance to try different kind of Oporto brandy. The "Taberninha do Manel" was the restaurant for lunch, a pleasant place at the banks of the Duero. It was the right place for the starting point of our forty five minutes boat ride was only one hundred meters far.
After that, another cellar was waiting for us: Sandeman, where we started drinking Oporto rightaway at its terrace, leaving behind the visit to the cellar itself. The return to the high part of the city was made in a cable car, for which we paid 2,50€ per person.
This short trip upwards took about five minutes; a sweet shop was our perfect excuse to take a rest. The place was called "Fabrica da Nata". A deeper rest was needed so we made to our apartment, just Maximo the two girls and me. Mariana and Maribel went on strolling the city center. Our rest took about an hour. Dinner time was close, so I made a reservation in a restaurant called "Postigo do Carvao". It was an apparent smoth process until our arrival at the stablishment. After speaking to person in charge he told us that we had to wait for our table. Before that embarrasing situation we decided to leave and make to our beloved "Papavinhos" where Jose served us that wonderful dinner on Friday. Said and done. Satisfaction, like the previous time, was what we felt at our departure, both for the treat received by Jose and the quality of the food.
Small boat with which we sailed over the Duero river
February/25th./2019 - Monday Oporto-Seville-Algeciras
The Oporto streets welcomed us at about 09:00 AM. That morning promised to be short for we had to be at the airport at 11:30 to return to Seville. "Primar" Cafe was our pick for our last breakfast in the town. The remaining minutes until 11:00 were used to stroll around our apartment.
We made our lugagge before breakfast, so that our way to the airport with van (Mercedes Vito) was quite straightforward. The driver was punctual, he was sharp at 11:30 waiting for us to go down from our apartment to take the plane. After a small trip that lasted about half an hour we reached our destination with enough time for our flight. Without the hassle of checking in (we did it on-line), crossing the security check was smooth and fast. A bottle for my parents and one for us of the well-known Oporto wine bought at the embarking area were our cabin hand luggage during our return flight, a 45 minutes trip.
We landed at Seville airport at about 16:30 Spanish time. The weather was excellent like in Portugal. The parking staff in charge of our cars was fast returning our vehicles, just a ten seconds delay after going out the airport. The queues to leave Seville were huge. Once at the highway, a stop in the first service area for a fast coffee and to buy some sweets and then home at about 19:00.
Last stroll over Oporto before returning to Spain
Flying back to Seville