It would be sooo easy to write the marketing copy for Porto City (as the locals call Oporto). First, I must acknowledge that I know nothing about Portuguese economy or politics…but all of the ingredients for a favored tourist spot are already in place:
Great historical attractions: Forts in beachfront settings, the well-known tiled homes and churches (and lesser known tiled interiors in public buildings).
Modern architecture and street art.
Quirkiness. What other European town has both a bookstore where one must stand in a very long line to get entry tickets and also a 16th century jail graced with a huge statue of a favored author holding his nude mistress? (It seems that JK Rowling did some writing in the bookshop and it’s been mentioned in guidebooks as a “must see.” The statues portray a couple who served time in the jail for adultery: he on the nicer third floor; she relegated to the less nice 2nd floor.
Of course, there are a lot of tourists taking pictures already….
Porto City is famous as the home of Port Wine, almost an afterthought for this marketing list. Given that red wines give me instant migraines, we didn’t even pursue a sip. The story we were told about the development of Port by a British fellow (who fell off his boat after a Port Party on his estate and drowned because he had a money belt filled with gold. Seriously….) is just one example of a longstanding bond between the UK and Portugal. Clearly, the UK is heavily invested in Portugal still.
Tomorrow, Lisbon and Sunday (Sept 4) the Azores. Then it’s due West for five 25=hour days to NYC. We should be totally disoriented to time and place as we leave the ship on Saturday the 10th and grab the train home.