A chill out day with impressive landmarks!
Started my day with a visit São Bento station to see what everybody was talking about … and also to buy a ticket to Aveiro for Monday. Downhill the whole way. *smile No sunshine, but a pleasant overcast and a breeze. I felt that I was going to have a very good day.
So soon I entered the station it was clear to me why it is such big tourist attraction. The wall was cover in the most stunning tile art. Probably the most beautiful railway station I have been to. Only one big vestibule, a ticket office to the side and a cafe on the other side … the vestibule is what it’s all about.
Architects: José Marques da Silva, Juan Pina and F2IS / Styles: French, Beaux-Arts /Materials: Ceramic, Wood, Stone, Azulejo and Iron – start building it 1864 and the first train arrived at the station in in 1896. They had to build a tunnel under the city for the trains – it took 3 years.
They haven’t done anything to make the station into a modern business with loads of shops .. and eating locations. Thank god for that. It had a major renovation that started in 1992.
After being admiring the station … I took bus 901 over the bridge (lower level) to the other side of River Duro. The other side is Vila Nova de Gaia – but I call it the port wine side because there is where all the big port wine wineries are located.
The famous bridge, Ponte Luís I, is a double-deck metal arch bridge that spans the River Douro between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. At its construction, its 172 meters (564 ft) span was the longest of its type in the world. In 1879, Gustave Eiffel presented a project to construct a new bridge over the Douro. Construction started in November 1881 and was finished in 1886.
Two decks of varying lengths: 172 metres (564 ft) (lower deck) and 395.25 metres (1,296.8 ft) Width 8 metres (26 ft) vehicular width (between pedestrian walkways) Height 44.6 metres (146 ft). And truly impressive structure.
Today the motor traffic is only allowed on lower level and upper level only for pedestrians and the trains. The lower level was enlarge in 2006 – for motor traffic and pedestrians.
From my hostel was it more or less only to walk straight on the top level … but that never was in any interest for me. The street leading down the top level looked in the evening looked like an airport runway.
I walked along the river front … on the other side of the street was the big port wineries laying side by side. I stopped at Sandeman for my thoughts – sat down on their terrace – it was a bit too early for cocktail so I had a cappuccino and a home made lemonade.
I have a little silly story about Sandeman port and it really the reason for why I don’t like port today. I must have been around 18 … had a night out and one of the girls said that she liked port wine. I never tasted it before, so we start drinking port … more than one glass of it of course. One of the few times I have been drunk in my life and the day after .. I don’t want to tell you about. So that is why I don’t drink port or I should really say the reason why I didn’t drink port for 50 years.
Was just sitting there, what a difference to the day before. I felt so happy about being alive and being in Porto as I sat there … soaking up good feelings. Life was at its BEST!!!!!
That side of the river is really the right side to be staying in Porto … because the fantastic view over Porto and the riverfront is magnificent. Sandeman is just building a 20 room hostel and suites plus a restaurant that will be ready in October. I can play with the thought of staying there – but it will be over my budget I’m sure. I didn’t visit the winery, but it looked absolutely stunning inside (visit the washroom) … something for my return.
On both side of the Duro was it market stalls with souvenir, gifts, and sunhats. I bought a cork handbag for my friend Ann Liisa.
For lunch I landed at a place right on the riverfront on the Porto side, Cafe do Cais (FB), it was more than busy … but I was seated quite quickly had to share table wit the mother and daughter from Spain, we had a very nice lunch together.
Enjoyed my Tuna Salad, but I wanted to go out in the kitchen and shake the chef … when I saw that over boiled “easter egg” on my salad. Terrible, but I survived and my cappuccino had whipped cream on top- yummy, so it made up for the eggs.
During my lunch a couple arrive and was placed in the table in front mine and she were wearing the most spectacular sandals … just had to take an image. She could have done a better job with her nail painting. *laughing.
The afternoon had become very pleasant with a breeze and the sun showed it face. After lunch, I walked back to the bridge and took bus 901 up the hills and now I had figured out that I should use the metro escalators to make up the last hill.
In the evening did I have a fantastic dinner at RAIZ, a modern Portuguese restaurant … just around the corner from the station. The food and service were superb. Will get its own post.
“Here is a very simple strategy of life:
When the train arrives at the station,
be at the station!”
Mehmet Murat ildan