23.07.2023

Well… I am on holiday, so 6:50 is the perfect time to be wide awake. I have collected more water and see a water bubble forming on the ceiling. I hope the technician comes tomorrow as promised. I didn’t hear it this night, so it is OK.

The plan for the day is to see more of Porto – what an unexpected surprise. ūüėÄ But for that I have to go to the city center. Best by metro since I still have the 24 hour ticket. Next stop close to me is Casa da M√ļsica and any line there to Trindade. A short walk of 10 minutes and the train is arriving without a long wait. The ride is only a few minutes and then I go towards my next point of interest – Aliados.

On the way one cannot leave the geocache lonely in the parking sign at city hall. Aliados is the square where I will have my geocaching event on Tuesday. So I know where to go now. Half the city seems to be under construction. Porto is building a new Metro line.

My main goal this morning is the river front and to take the Douro River 6 bridge cruise I booked yesterday evening. Got 10 % off with a code from the guide from yesterday. They start at 10 and I have enough time to walk a little bit around.

I went right and left, following the shopping street that is still empty this early on a Sunday morning. Few tourists have made it out of bed as it seems – just me having short nights. I found two more caches at the Parca do Infante D. Henrique. But now it is just over the street to get to the river.’

Old parts of towns are very often interesting. This end of the old town – if you want to call it that – could do with some work. But the have McDonald’s in a great building, covered with red tiles. Now I am walking down Rua de Reboleira towards Largo do Terreiro. One of two squares at the river front area. Just a small walk along the Cais da Estiva to Praca da Ribeira. This is where my boat is said to leave.

After I found the pier I wait first in line since the boat has just closed its doors. Best to be first and find a good spot. The cues are long here. 20 minutes later they open the door. One would expect people working in tourism to speak English, but I got a mixture of Portuguese and English to tell me, that I have a voucher, no ticket and that I have to exchange the voucher into a ticket at the “office” on the square. What the heck? I had to send the voucher by mail to them and then they could give me the ticket. I missed the boat and had to wait 30 more minutes. I got a voucher for two glasses of port vine with the ticket – which can be used at tow different cellars on the other side of the river. Ok – I want to go there anyways. Lesson learned – buy directly at the place, do not use an agency. It was not worth the 1,60 Euro reduced price. The ticket is 18 Euro (at least on this side of the river – I come back to that).

Finally Boarding the boat. The tour takes between 45 and 50 minutes and goes under all 6 bridges in the central city and out to the Douro delta. The tour is relaxing. (Company: Duoreoacima) The sun is shining and a little bit of wind keeps it comfortable. There is no guide or loudspeaker that tells you things. You could download an app and look there, but I think it is more interesting to look around. Old houses, new riverside developments that don’t have the same charm as the old houses. The same is happening everywhere.

45 Minutes later back at the pier and I want to walk to the other side (there is a river taxi that gets you over the river for a fee, but why not walk the short distance). Over a marked where they sell all kinds of stuff for tourists nobody really needs and then over the Ponte Luis I, but this time on the lower level. On the other side I have left the city of Porto and am in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. It is here where all the port vine cellars are. Historically this is because of tax evasion. It was cheaper here than in Porto.

The whole riverside is a big tourist trap. All the port companies have their own cellars and bars, there are restaurant and you can buy more useless stuff. Some scouts sell small bags of sweets for a Euro to save money for a camp in Germany. As a former scout that has to be supported. And I also support a small vendor offering fresh pressed sugar cane juice. They take sugar cane in a machine you don’t want to put your hand in and out comes a very sweet juice. I always wanted to try that since I saw it on videos about Brazil. Not bad. Recommended.

The vine vouchers I got from the river cruise are worthless. Both bars have closed. Nice. And if you go to Porto – the cruises are 3 Euros cheaper on this side. And they all do the same route up and down the river. So money can be saved here!

It is past noon and I would like some food. And it is a tourist trap I chose. This i herding of the masses. Get in, sit down, chose and get the food nearly thrown at you. Well… the food wasn’t even good. I had a very small steak sandwich which was a small piece of baguette with a small piece of meat and some cheese. The cheese was the only thing you could taste. The beer/Sprite mixture was Ok and the port was Ok, too. But the second time in two days I had bad luck with my food. (Restaurant Sancho Panza).

Then I just change buildings and buy a ticket for the Telef√©rico de Gaia. A cable car that takes you up to Jardim du Morro. The ride costs 7 Euro for adults one way and takes only a few minutes. But you don’t need to climb the hill and I am on holiday so why not. ūüôā

On the river cruise I saw an interesting looking building in a park and my app confirms, that there is an Adventure lad there, So this is my spontaneous next goal. The Jardins do Pal√°cio de Cristal. Just using my still valid metro ticket from the stop here back to Aliados and then walking a few hundred meters to catch a bus 207 to the stop Pal√°ce. Only 8 stops and I am there.

The palace is an arena for events as it seems. But the interesting thing is the garden around. It is more like a botanical garden with different themes. A very nice area to walk around. Nice views over the river. The adventure lab is guiding me. And I take the time to sit down and enjoy the afternoon. You have roosters and chicken running around (making enough noise to wish they end up as dinner), ducks and peacocks. Half an hour under trees, with a nice wind blowing is not the worst way to spend time.

After seeing most of the garden I want to go down to the river. I follow the path that is supposed to get me down on steep stairs, when I heat someone shouting behind me. I didn’t understand a word but it was an old man on top of the wall that tried to tell me something by pointing and shaking the head. Ok, that means maybe there is no way down. So back up the stairs again and he is sitting on his walking aid talking to me. Since I didn’t manage to learn Portuguese while climbing back up the stairs he tries sign language. Rio (river – he made swimming movements) and then pointing up and using his left arm to show me where to go to get down again. And I understood, followed his instructions and found the way.

A steep way down (better use the bus and go down – I was lucky) and I start feeling my legs from the second day of walking. And since I have an early day tomorrow I just have to open my Bolt app on the phone and order a ride home. It only takes 5 minutes to get the car to me and 10 minutes to get home. 4,20 Euro. Not a bad price when you are used to Norwegian horror prices.

And I see that there is the 10-second-rule in Porto. For 10 seconds you can imagine that the traffic lights were green before and you remember that, so just drive on red – with a hint of the green that was there once. Never cross the road without looking. It might be your last mistake.

Home and a phone call to Germany later I want to order food for dinner. But both Uber Eats and Bolt Foods only have the Portuguese texts and translations do not work in apps (at least to my knowledge). And the food does not look too good and the only stuff I understand is McD and Burger King. No thank you. Back out to the supermarked around the corner and buying some baguette, salami, fruit and pudding. Better than being disappointed again.

Just putting all the batteries on charging for my trip tomorrow.

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