If one has two days in Porto, don’t waste your time going to museums and seeing the tiled outside of churches. Spending time in Europe necessarily means that you will be seeing a lot of churches. The people in Spain and Portugal love their Jesus … don’t believe me, then check your history books. For the last 800 years, they’ve loved their Jesus and erected many a tribute, statue and church in his honour – so forget the churches. As for museums, I’ve never been a fan of watching artifacts that I could read about, online. It’s like going to watch sports in the stadium, it is a good idea once or twice, but you pay for the overpriced alcohol, food and parking. Instead, you could be sitting on your comfortable couch, watching your 57″ high definition TV, drinking your beer/scotch/rum, eating some “roti and curry chicken” while listening to the talking heads and using your PVR for instant replay and slow motion. The point is go see the city you’re in, rather than be trapped in some stuffy old building that tries to portray the city you’re in … after 3-4 days and you have nothing else to do, then museums, planetariums, and bullshit-ariums can be done.
A great walk in Porto is starting from the Casa de Musica by the Rotunda da Boavista. Boavista is one of the longer streets in Porto and offers a great walk from the monument to the old fort. The Casa de Musica is Porto’s 100M Euro music hall and it is spectacular inside … for all the 10 minutes I walked in.
Then start walking along the Avenida da Boavista, as per the map. This walk passes many monuments, high end hotels and gardens. All are lovely for a quick stop for lunch or better yet, staying on the strip here. It’s about an hour’s walk from the Casa de Musica down the Avenida da Boavista to the Forte de São Francisco Xavier. It’s more popularly known as the Castelo do Queijo (“Castle of Cheese”) – you can google the story. Walking along the coast line you can see young lovers nestled in the sand, pensioners playing cards at the base of the fortress walls, people having siestas on the bench or having a latte in the many cafes along the coast, all while Atlantic breakers kick up spray on the rocks.
Then walking along the beach, you can head past the terraces and lighthouses into the Avenida da Dom Pedro I.
Then it’s easy walking past the fishermen and restaurants till you get tired …
You can keep walking past the bridges along the Douro till your day sets and then start again in the morning.
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