Our first full day in Porto was filled with – what else? – tons of walking! We got up super early (7 a.m.) and started walking towards the Sé Cathedral. It’s a large, stone church atop a hill overlooking the city. Great views of Porto from this vantage point. There’s even a “magic train,” whatever that means.
We walked down some random, steep, narrow streets to get back towards one of the main roads that run towards the river. Another opportunity to witness Porto’s “faded grandeur” and get a peek of city life here.
We decided to cut west and explore the city’s various squares, churches and landmarks. For some reason, I kept getting hot and cold flashes. Crazy Porto weather – hot sun, cool river breeze. Or crazy me.
We walked past the stock exchange and stopped inside of St. Nicholas Church, which has a beautiful, blue-and-white-tiled facade.
I love Porto’s hills, just lined with run-down houses with faded and peeling paint, and red roofs. And the river that runs through the city, separating it and then bridging the gap with that indescribably massive steel structure.
We walked all the way to the western border of Porto and climbed up several flights of stone stairs, through the once-Jewish district, to try to find the Crystal Palace.
We finally found the Crystal Palace and gardens thanks to a mix of my map skills and Frances’ iPhone map. We had lunch at the cafeteria there, sitting next to a little pond. Very peaceful. More peaceful was that my second call to the airport (the first was largely inconclusive), I was informed that they found my luggage!
There were also peacocks in the park – I guess peacocks must be native to Europe, because I see them in almost all the parks here. I wonder if they roam around anywhere else? We even saw several male peacocks chilling up in the branches of a tree, pretty high up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. How do they get up there? Can peacocks fly? I need a peacock expert asap!