Peaceful Pretty Porto


Miss Adri and I like beautiful things as much as a crackhead likes his drugs so we made it our mission to visit Portugal's most beautiful railway station, cafe and library on our first day :-) Nothing gets me going like gorgeous blue tiles and Porto is full of them! I had a spastic attack every time we saw a church covered with blue ceramic tiles or a quaint little house with a blue door. We visited a free photography museum, the crystal palace gardens and walked on the Dom Luís I Bridge. We covered a lot of ground in one day because Porto is a relatively small city. Beware of the hills because those kill under-exercised thighs *ouch*.

It is in Porto that we saw a pigeon taking a drawn-out shower in a fountain. He was cleaning his feathers because it was courting season.  Miss Adri and I saw so many male pigeons puff up their necks and running after females and heated displays of pigeon-machoism.  The pigeon didn't mind our voyeurism as we snapped photos of him showering. I really enjoyed Porto because they had a lot of artsy shops and crafty pop-up stores.  Some people might wonder if we tried any of the port wine. The answer is no. That drunken episode in Barcelona scarred us too much and we wanted to keep our wits about us since our stay was short. Instead, we strolled leisurely along the beach with our bikes.

Panda's top three things to see in Porto:

Lello & Irmão Bookstore - it is said that JK Rowling got her inspiration for Hogwarts from this book store.  Dark oak stairs and cabinets, luxurious red carpets, dangling lights and stained glass ceilings transport you to a wizardy world. Some reviews online say that you can't take pictures in the book store at certain times but we went there midday and all around us, people were snapping away.

Majestic Cafe - know as the most beautiful cafe in Portugal with its grandiose mirrors and belle epoque atmosphere. The price of your drink is obviously inflated because of the decor but it's totally worth it in my book. I could feel the elegance rub off on me, or maybe it was my sweat.

Sao Bento Railway Station - train stations always fill me with nostalgia because they used to be the only means of long distance travel. Nowadays we are so used to taking our cars or hop on a bus or set off on a plane that we forget how much history is contained within these tracks. At the Sao Bento railway station, Portuguese history is literally painted on their tiled walls. Travelers are welcomed with a visual delicacy when they step off their trains.