After yesterday’s trip to Guimarães, I was feeling sore, tired and ultimately unmotivated to do another day trip from Porto. Instead, I opted to spend another day in Porto while the sun was shining.
Weather really does make a difference when you’re travelling.
So, I woke up this morning determined to eat at a vegetarian restaurant, check-out another famous cafe, and walk the streets of Porto while (hopefully) getting a tan.
The sun actually began to peek through the clouds a few days ago. A group of us went to do some Port Wine Tasting on the other side of the bridge in Vila Nova de Gaia. It was like entering a whole other world! This is where all the port wine producers have their tastings, so there are beautiful buildings contrasted with old warehouses. Also, there must be more money on this side of the bridge as there are new buildings, beautiful paved walkways and stairways and landscaped parks are gardens every corner you take.
And of course, you get a beautiful panoramic view of Porto from this side as well. Add in a bit of sun and it was a travellers dream for photos (instagram).
Well, unfortunately for us, we arrived at 5:15, and they stop doing tours at 5! But do not worry, we still got to taste three different types of Port all at the Taylor Lodge. Cost was 3 euro! Not bad!
‘guests will taste three Port wines: Chip Dry – Extra Dry White, Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) and Tawny 10 year old in the elegant Library Room.’
Verdict: The Chip Dry-Extra Dry White was really sweet, but the woman said that some people mix it into a cocktail with tonic and mint or lemon. So, I bought a bottle to bring home (they don’t export white) and plan to try it at home.
Next was the LBV. It was extremely sweet, but I could definitely sip on it while eating her recommendations of black fruits, chocolate and strong cheeses.
The last was the Tawny 10 year old. It was my least favourite of the ports, but I know understand why it’s served as a dessert wine and not usually consumed in large quantities.
Two days later I took advantage of the warmer weather (17ºC) and the sun and explored Porto without an umbrella.
I walked around the main square and down Rua Santa Catarina and up Rua Miguel Bombarda. There were outdoor markets, people roasting chestnuts and locals and tourists alike wandering the streets on this Saturday afternoon.
I headed over to Nakite vegetarian restaurant on Rua de Breyner (west of pedestrian street rua de Cedofeita).
They weren’t quite open (the web says 12, but I think it’s usually 12:30), but they kindly let me sit on the terrace to drink tea and look over the menu. I was content drinking tea and reading, and asked the kind server to just serve me either meal of the day: a choice between a tofu pizza or a cheesy seitan dish; the choice was his.
Thirty minutes later my dish arrived. I was so happy to see a salad on my plate, and more vegetables on the ‘pizza’.
I was fairly full by this point, but while in Europe I know that my next fully vegetarian meal at a restaurant may be far away, so I always get dessert. Well, foolish me, I didn’t take a picture, but it was an espresso/chocolate mousse pie. I had a cafe (espresso) on the side and spent the better part of 10 minutes in chocolatey-coffee heaven.
The damage? For a tea, cafe, meal and dessert the total was only 10.45 euro! Not too bad!
I was too full to go to the Guarany Cafe, but check out their site and when you go to Porto stop in and let me know how it is! I was too satisfied to go for more coffee, and I know it’s a bit expensive in there.
But, walking along Santa Catarina I couldn’t resist getting some roasted chestnuts. I had been seeing them all over Lisbon and Porto since I arrived, and decided that today was the day I gave into temptation.
I’ve seen these in Lisbon for as little as 1 euro, but I was in a touristy area and was content paying 2 euro for this local treat.
I really enjoyed Porto. I think it would be even better in the summer and there are lots of day trips to do around the area. The Douro Valley (by boat or train), Guimaraes, Aveiro and Braga just to name a few.