We woke to a very wet morning which did not inspire us to leap out of bed. Eventually it eased and after everyone had made phone calls to family and friends we met our guide for an afternoon food tour. Diogo was a delightful young man. He took us on a walking tour around Porto to very specific local places to eat local food. He was a font of information and a lot of fun too. We started at the city walls then walked to our first stop which was a Portuguese hot dog. It is eaten as a snack with beer or wine. It was very tasty. The meat was slightly spicy with melted cheese and a crispy bun. You could add chilli oil for extra punch. Then we wandered through the streets passing the National Theatre where they hold operas and classical concerts etc.
The remnants of the old city walls.
Portugal has the most interesting pavements with different patterns in different cities.
With further walking we arrived at the famous Pork bun restaurant. It is served with a sparkling rosé. The queue was so long it snaked out the door and we thought Diogo may have abandoned us. This place goes through at least 6 pigs haunches a day. It is like pulled pork and served with sheep cheese melted over the pork in a bread roll. It was delicious.
Margarida our guide on Sunday, said these buns where the reason there are hardly any fast food chains in Porto because they can’t compete with this relatively cheap, tasty, fast local food. More walking followed and we headed towards the river and deviated to the famous Central Railway station to see the tiles that adorn the walls. They tell the story of Portugal during medieval times and the battle for Tangier where Henry the Navigator lost his life.Along the way we visited a patisserie of great charm for coffee and a Bolas de Berlim ( a round doughnut filled with egg custard). It was light and delicious.
Diogo played the guitar that was sitting on a stand. He used to play in bands at Uni and in Fado groups. It was lovely to hear.
Further on he took us into the Institute of Port which has an interesting exposition on the history and making of Port. I didn’t realise that port comes in so many varieties. From Rosy to white and Tawny in between. They have an instrument for taking the top off an old vintage port when the cork is too old to extract. The tongs are heated then placed around the top of the bottle and then plunged into cold water. The glass breaks cleanly and the port is decanted.
The production of port is regulated by a a certification board and the name is like Champagne. Only port from Porto is really called port. Australian port is fortified wine!
From here we were on our own and we wandered right down to the Ribeira and it’s winding streets, back up the hill past the Convent and Sao Bento up to the tower where we joined a queue only to be told the limit of people allowed up had been reached and we could come back at night or tomorrow. We opted to continue our walk home.
We passed through a whole lot of upmarket bars and shops before arriving home and realising it was nearly 8.00 pm and we should eat dinner. We had been recommended a little restaurant close by which we found easily and managed to get a seat before the place was inundated. We all had chicken curry with rice and salad. It was a curry powder type of curry but tasty and generous and for the four of us only cost €12.50 each for food, dessert, wine and water. We have managed to keep under or close to budget since we have left Lisbon. Hooray! These family restaurants have simple but tasty local food and are well priced so it is no wonder they are always full.
I loved the cat boxes lined up near a viewing spot we stumbled upon. The Portuguese love their cats. They are everywhere.
While having dinner we saw on a television that Notre Dame in Paris was burning. We all felt so shocked. The blaze seemed enormous.