Friday, April 24, 2015
Porto is a feast for the eyes and the stomach
rely on, especially with all the walking we were
Now it was time for lunch.The Francesinha is a cardiologist-unapproved local sandwich of ham, mortadella, beef, sausage and cheese topped with an egg and a warm tomato-beer sauce. All this is served with chips. Our host had told us where to find the best Francesinha in town. The working man’s snack was in much demand but after a short wait we were sitting at a table waiting to be served. The Francesinha is a huge meal and I managed to eat less than half of it. My dining partner polished his off with gusto.
We continued walking along the main street before heading downhill to a vast square, where we picked up a yellow tour bus. This was a good way to get to know the area. We saw houses with red-tiled roofs tumbling down the hills to the riverbank, prickly church towers dotting the skyline, mosaic-patterned stones lined the streets, and flat-bottomed boats called rabelos plied the lazy Douro. We passed many historic sights that we would visit later. The drive along the Douro River through Foz, a big seaside area, right out to where the Douro meets the Atlantic Ocean was quite beautiful. There were many wide, golden beaches and a few hardy souls had even had a swim.
Fish is on every menu in Porto. For dinner I had grouper, something we don't see on our Spanish menus. It was served with boiled potatoes and watery cabbage doused in rock salt. The fish itself was lovely. The rock salt was something we were going to encounter a few times even when you asked for no salt.
We finished our day off with a walk down to the Sao Bento train station built in 1916. The concourse is quite magnificent with various scenes from Portugal's history depicted in beautiful azulejo (blue) tiles.