First glances of Porto

I tried to stop thinking about my lost luggage (and lost tulip slippers) as we wandered through Porto towards the river. Porto is very beautiful. Or as Frances’ guidebook described it: full of faded grandeur. Lost of buildings with faded, colored paint, that look kind of run down yet have a certain character. The city is really hilly, so there are lots of steep winding streets and stairs.

"Faded grandeur" of Porto's buildings

Even though I was starving, I wanted to make it down to the river for dinner so I could at least be cheered up by some nice views. We found a restaurant with a patio by the Ribeira area, along a row of old, colorful houses lining the river.

The "Ribeira"

The restaurant was charming, decorated with antique items like old-school phones and sewing machines. It had a great view of the river, the Port wine cellars across the water and the impressive steel Dom Luis Bridge crossing the river.

View from the restaurant

I think we ordered half the menu. We started with a liter of red wine, then on to appetizers. We ordered the Franceshina, which was described as bread with cheese, ham, meat, etc. We thought it would be a platter of food, but apparently it’s a traditional Porto dish which consists of a piece of bread with ham, steak and cheese piled on it. All of this is swimming in a gravy made of beer and other ingredients. Oh – and there’s a fried egg on top! Yummy.

Frances also ordered an octopus appetizer, which I actually tried. It wasn’t bad – the octopus didn’t have a strong taste, other than the vinegar it was soaked in, and the texture was probably less out there than calamari.

For dinner, I ordered a traditional bacalao (cod) dish, with potatoes and veggies. Unfortunately, it tasted way too fishy for me! At least we had a super authentic first meal in Porto, surrounded by beautiful scenery!

Porto's immense Dom Luis Bridge

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