Three things stick out in my mind when I remember Porto: Majestic Café, port wine tasting, and the ridiculous car lift at our hotel. Luckily, our tiny Nissan Note (aka Nora Jean Notie), zipped and maneuvered into the tiniest spaces imaginable for a car. The lift entailed a small box, barely big enough for a sedan that descended down to the hotel’s dungeon of a garage with the push of a button. It was strange to say the least. Anyways, back to the beautiful city of Porto. Our day began with a second breakfast at the famous Majestic Café. Marble, mirrors, and chandeliers surrounded my delectable French toast, dusted with powdered sugar and practically swimming in maple syrup. My diabetic treat competed with the “hot chocolate” for highest sugar density, as it seemed more like warm chocolate pudding drowning in whipped cream than any beverage. Though I’m not complaining!
We then headed off to the city center to begin our day’s sightseeing. Porto proudly displays the quintessential Portuguese blue and white tile church fronts and panels on nearly every corner. One notable example is Se Catedral, with its alcove of storytelling tiles along the lateral face. As we rounded the corner of the cathedral, we stumbled upon a few art students sketching the church face, broad strokes of charcoal depicting the angular beauty. A soft whisper called my name as I sat mesmerized by the drawings.The classic “I wish I could..” phrase immediately popped into my head, the thought of taking an architectural drawing class. I have longed for free time for non-medicine pursuits for ages, and witnessing free flowing art tugged at my heart strings.
We marveled at the juxtaposing royal blue of the tiles on the church face, opposite the burnt orange of the tiled rooftops below. Despite the looming clouds, Porto’s vibrant colors leaped off the streets latching on to any passersby willing to absorb the moment.
We spent the afternoon in Cais da Ribiera and stopped for a port wine cellar tour and tasting. My goodness do I like port wine! The perfect day was topped off with a new book from Lello Bookstore, notable for its appearance in Harry Potter.