This week’s adventure starts on a boat! An Airbnb boat located at Douro Marina just south of the city of Porto. We decided to relax for a few days, enjoy the summer sun, and reminisce about a life we once lived three years ago.
Chantil and I raised our family on a 36-foot sailboat for 11 years. When we decided to move to Europe, and then travel full-time via motorcycle, it didn’t make much sense to keep the sailboat – so we sold it. We often talk about how we miss the lifestyle of being sailors, but we also really enjoy being motorcycle travelers. There will be other boats in out future – after we’re done traveling the world via motorcycle…
Douro Marina, Vila Nova de Gaia
Our Airbnb boat for a few days. It was an older model Bayliner and not built very well, but it was updated with new headliners, cushions, and bedding. It was actually pretty comfortable for a relatively small boat.
Chantil’s mule (White) Chocolate parked at Douro Marina
After loading up the mules for the next leg of our travels, we snapped some picture of them parked at the marina and made our way towards Porto.
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Heading towards Porto, but before we cross the bridge over the Douro River, we’ve got a side trip to see a mural from one of our favorite artists…
Looking at the city of Porto from across the Douro River.
Bordalo II, Half Rabbit
Bordalo II is one our favorite street artists. We first discovered his murals while in Lisbon but have made it a point to visit more of his works as we continue traveling throughout Europe.
Half Rabbit is one of his most interesting murals because it’s on two sides of a building with the left side being painted to look more realistic and the right side keeping the bright and predominantly primary colors of the plastic trash.
To see more of Bordalo II’s works be sure to check out our blog post: Discovering Trash Animals in Europe.
Crossing the Luís I Bridge towards Porto felt like we were entering a new city to discover.
The Clérgios Tower is the tallest (249 ft/76 meters) and one of the most emblematic monuments of the city.
Saint Francis Church is a beautiful church and, from pictures we‘ve seen online, even more impressive on the inside. However, paying 6 euros a person and not being allowed to take personal photographs is a huge downer for me. Sorry Saint Francis, we’re moving on…
…Fortunately, there are a lot of free places to visit in Porto that do allow photography.
São Bento Railroad Station
You’re probably wondering what is so amazing about a railroad station in a large city?
What makes this station so unique is the more than 20,000 azulejo tiles and painting that depict the history of Portugal – the battles, the royalty, and the exploration.
These exquisite murals were painted over a period of 11 years by the Portuguese painter Jauj colaso.
Seriously, a McDonald‘s?! With all the other wonderful food in Portugal, why are we visiting a McDs?
The McDonald’s Imperial opened its doors in 1995 but retained the original Art Deco features of the famous 1930’s coffee shop that was there before.
The massive eagle statue, ornate chandeliers, and stained glass walls make this the most unique mcdonalds we’ve ever visited.
How did it taste? There were so many people packed in there that we decided to eat somewhere else. I’m sure it tasted like any other McDonald’s.
Walking the Streets of Porto
Walking among the streets of Porto was one of the highlights of our day. There is a lot to see and take in…
…Like the narrow and brightly colored streets…
…and especially the lovely blue azulejo ceramic tiles.
There was even some street art and a Vespa scooter covered in buttons parked outside a sewing store.
The highlight of our day was the Roman Catholic Church, of Porto Cathedral.
Church construction began during the second half of the 12th century. Three styles of architecture were used throughout the multi-century construction process – Romanesque, Gothic, and Boroque.
Although the interior of the church is impressive, it’s the bright blue and while azulejo tiles of the cloister that leave an impression.
They depict scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the life of Mother Mary.
As much as we enjoyed our day in Porto, we felt like we needed to continue north and enjoy a bit of the beach at Praia Castro de São Paio and then find a place near Braga, Portugal.
It was a good day of being a tourist in Porto!
Next Blog Post
Our journey through Portugal continues! Join us next post, as we walk the steps and discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bom Jesus do Monte.
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27 Jul 2020 | Porto, Portugal