Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A wander down Porto's waterfront

You can never get lost in Porto. Just find out where the Duoro is, and you can align yourself fairly easily. The Duoro River dominates Porto, it carved the gorge that the city now sits in and as a result, it gives Porto its unique characteristic beauty. On a clear day, this is one beautiful place to take a stroll.

A great place to start is by the Dom Luis Bridge and to head out east towards the Atlantic coast. With Vila Nova de Gaia on your left with its world famous Port Cellars,

you can easily distract yourself with the brands of Port that are sold worldwide, or in England at Christmas.

The Duoro is also a major place for bird watching. Maybe the bird is the word, but this is a major stopping off point for migrations as well as a great place to generally spot such ornithological creatures:

Heading further west towards the Atlantic, you will find many of the locals engaged in fishing. Portugal is big on its fish, being dominated by the Atlantic Sea, it is not surprising to find fish served in every restaurant and cheaply available in the shops. But a lot of people have the mentality of why bother paying for it, when it comes free. All along by the mouth of the Duoro I saw plenty of Porto's finest go fishing, catching their own food for their families. A quiet past time, with tasty results!

The Atlantic is not that far from Porto's city centre. In fact, the Duoro is in reality little more than an inlet for the ocean. It is rough, windy and fierce but stunning at the same time. For centuries this was the edge of the European world and then came the savagery that was the Age of Discovery that in reality has shaped the world we have today. A lot of history started from this point, that today is one of the most westerly points in Portugal. Okay, not the most westerly point, but it is the symbolism rather than the reality that makes this point evocative. Feeling the breeze coming off the sea is a wonderful and inspiring feeling. Head that way, and you come to the Azores and some 3000 miles later, America. Wow. Yep, that is it, open ocean ahead. Land's end, the end of the world, or the beginning of something more...fun...


magiceye said...

wow seems like such a laidback city. nowi know where the laidbackness of goa comes from! :)

Asad said...

Two posts on Porto and you haven't mentioned Deco?!


el director! said...

@magiceye - you are the second person who has compared Porto to Goa!

@asad - no, I did not visit the 'dragon's den'...i was not allowed...