travel diary – porto – day 1


A day of pampering … historical lunch spot and shopping, mostly window shopping.

Google had told me that my favorite hairdresser have a couple of salons in Porto and the nearest salon to the hostel are at ViaCatarina Shopping- Jean Louis David – is an American hair brand that now can be found all over the world, but not in Sweden. ViaCatarina Shopping should be about 8 minutes walk from the hostel, but the hill I had to take on first of all … took over 10 min on its own (image above -R. de Cimo de Vila), but after that, it was a smooth walk.

I suppose they only had one English speaking stylist on duty that day and she started 11 am .. so I could do some gift shopping to my girlfriends … and looking at fabulous shoes, but they don’t have my size and relaxing with a nice cup of coffee.

I’m always so pleased with their job … had some images of Natalie Portman in her short hair with me and I looked just like her one hour later. At least my hairstyle did. Not so cheap in Porto as in Warsaw.  Understand they have 8 salons in Krakow, where I’m spending Christmas.

After hairdresser, I had lunch at the famous Majestic Café  – I passed it on my way to the hairdresser on  Rua Santa Catarina. Very-very-Very busy for lunch .. all the seats outside in the sunshine was of course taken, but it didn’t take long before I had a comfortable table inside.

The history tells me that it opened in December 1921, and the establishment was then called Elite café. It is located on Santa Catarina Street, a pedestrian walkway for shopping and for the finest members of society, then and now. The café enlightened the street with its Art Nouveau decoration, by architect João Queiroz.

Inside, the scent of leather upholstery and varnished wood is joined by the magnificent vision of the plaster-decorated ceiling and of the endless Flemish mirrors, is an ensemble that marvels all senses. Add in the combination of marble and metal and it becomes truly exquisite. At the back of the café, nature rules in the conservatory, which connects Santa Catarina street to Passos Manuel street.

The opening day, which has become a distant memory, has always been remembered by the city. Many have flocked to this part of the city to learn about the new building that has become to define Porto’s architectural landscape. Appealing to intellectuals, bohemians and to the ladies of high society, when on a walkabout, would sit to drink tea or eat an ice cream.

The Majestic Café, designed by architect João Queiróz and inspired in the works of his master Marques da Silva, is still one of the most beautiful and meaningful examples of Art Nouveau in Porto. The building, implanted in the corner between Santa Catarina street and Passos Manuel street in 1916.

And the interior looks like it’s the original from the 1920’s – the massive mirror is so old that they are damaged … server damaged. A beautiful place and excellent service. Not the cheapest place, but how cares??? It didn’t empty my account.  

I enjoyed my Club Sandwich, even if it was egg in it … cappuccino and a big glass of their homemade lemonade. Was sitting there and soaking in the atmosphere for a good while.

After 1,5 I took on the heat outside and walked all the way down to the riverfront to local my restaurant for the evening, ODE Porto Wine House . A good 30 min walk in the afternoon sun, but it was downhill all the way and I walked back to the hostel through the Sé area, loads of hills and winding backstreets.

Very interesting to see how locals live in Porto, Sé is a very old part of Porto, between the river and the cathedral. They were decorating the streets for the big festival that takes place the this weekend, Festa de São João do Porto.

The festivities have been held in the city for more than six centuries.  A journalist from The Guardian in 2004 commented that “Porto’s Festa de São João is one of Europe’s liveliest street festivals, yet it is relatively unknown outside the country.

It became a hot day with loads of walking … and I hadn’t figured out using the metro escalators for the last hill yet!!! But my feet were doing okay, but when I passed the Fonte Mouzinho da Silveira … I wanted to put my feet in the shallow water.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

12 thoughts on “travel diary – porto – day 1

    • Thank you so much, Jo … I’m glad that you … pointed it out to me. !!! I wish more people will make me aware of my mistakes. *smile Not always they are picked up by Grammnarly! * smile

  1. Vivi, what a fabulous time you had…and that’s only day 1! I see someone else has picked up on ‘dairy’ for you, glad I noticed or you would have been told a second time! 😳

  2. We stayed at a hostel right opposite the Ildefonso church for our first couple of days. We arrived at night, in October, and one of my most loved sights was seeing it lit up. We walked past the Cafe Majestic that first evening too and popped in for a drink. It was getting late and almost empty. 🙂 🙂 I’m so going to enjoy these memories with you, Vivi.

  3. You’ve taken me right back to Porto in an instant Vivi! I was there last year in June just before the festival – I loved the little lanes decorated with flags and bunting!

    • Last year …. so you have been back???!! I wish I had known about the festival … I would had chosen the week after, but we can’t have everything. Also it would have been even warmer. *smile

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