Still in the game
Lighthouse in the Foz neighborhood, Porto. I did good.
I’m still in the game….but feeling rough. Apparently I have little immunity to European germs and have caught “the cooties” (not real cooties). The cooties are morphing into a sore throat, but I’m still muddling through. We thought that we got a pretty good feel for the city yesterday, so we kept our adventures in Porto low key today. I mentioned not riding the old antique trolleys yesterday, so we made up for it.
There are three of the historic trolley lines that run through Porto. The trolley costs 3.50 euros per one way ride, or 10 euros for an unlimited ticket that is good for two days. We bought the unlimited as we intended to ride the trolley more than once. Our first trip was on the #1 line along the river to an area called “Foz”.
Waves batter the tanker in the distance, bouncing it around like a child's toy. This is a HUGE ocean going vessel, maybe 600 feet long
Foz isn’t a big tourist area but I enjoyed it very much. It’s more of a residential area where real Porto residents live and is at the mouth of the river. The area has a very nice waterfront park, a walk along the river where locals were fishing, jogging, and enjoying the outdoors. We also used one of the national landmarks in the park, a historic restroom! This is the first historic restroom I’ve ever used.
Where rivers flow into the ocean, it is usually quite violent, with large waves and difficult currents for ships to navigate. We watched a tanker leaving port a few miles north of where we were. This was a very large ship and we were watching it roll 15-20 degrees or more as it left the river. It looked like a VERY rough ride and made me happy to be on land.
Laurie on the breakwater, enjoying the sun
We walked out on the breakwater at the mouth of the river. The waves were violently crashing into the rocks and breakwater, making huge splashes far into the air. I’ve piloted a boat into port from the ocean before, but it was only 31 feet and in much calmer waters. Piloting the river bar here would take a lot of skill.
We shoot photos of the ocean and I get a great one of a wave hitting the breakwater and flying into the air. I shot a series of photos (shooting at 3 frames per second) where the waves were higher than the lighthouse. It was spectacular! We watch the ocean and the waves for a while, and watch the people. It is very much a locals crowd, which we like, as it is a more genuine experience. It shows how the locals really live.
National historic rest room in the park, Foz, Porto
We decide to catch the trolley back up the river. It runs every 20 minutes or so and we just missed it, so we decide to have lunch first. After lunch we go into the Farmacia (pharmacy) next door to buy some over the counter meds for my…..cold, infection, whatever. Then we catch the trolley back to town.
We ride the #1 trolley to the point that it intersects the #18 line, which runs from the river and UP the hill to the central area of town. I’ve mentioned the straight up/straight down nature of Porto, so riding uphill is very appealing. The #18 takes us right to the main square by the university, where we walk off the #18 tram and onto the #22.
Waterfront park in Foz
The # 22 tram makes a circle around the old part of town. We ride around in a big circle and find out we did a pretty good job of seeing the town yesterday. Most of the places the trolley went, we had already been. We did, however, get a very good value out of our unlimited historic trolley ticket.
We wander the old town area a while longer, looking for nothing in general. We pick up a few souvenirs of our visit and grab dinner at the same diner we had dinner at on Christmas Eve. It is called “Tropical” and is on Batahal Square, near our hotel. The food is good, cheap, and they’re open late. My kind of place.
We can't figure it out, but Europeans LOVE McDonalds. The placed was mobbed. We've seen this phenomenon all over Europe.
I have enjoyed visiting Porto. We wanted to experience the place, the food, the culture, the people. While I have enjoyed it, I don’t feel the need to visit again. I felt the same way about Copenhagen. While nice, while enjoyable, while someplace I wanted to see…...I’ve seen it now. I don’t have anything bad to say about Porto, but it does not have the draw of a place like Iceland….where I didn’t feel like I saw enough and want to go back. Laurie pretty much agrees.
We come back to the hotel and start to pack. Tomorrow we move…...and I hope I feel better tomorrow. Check out the gallery below for more pics. Next stop, Sao Miguel Island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean! Azores here we come.