Hills, Wine, and Song

by theadventuresofbeka

Saturday

Heads up – this is a longgggg post picture wise. The rest of my day was jam packed and Oporto is so beautiful I had a hard time choosing what pictures to share. I have a LOT more – I took about 300 pictures this weekend.

The weather was absolutely beautiful all day. Lots of sunshine and “warm” – 70F.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the architecture.

This hotel was cheap and we soon realized why – the elevator wasn’t closed in – you could see the wall moving as you went up.

We loved the view during the day, at night not so much. We heard drunks all night, singing and talking.

These are called natas (they were on our list). They are a perfect mixture of slightly sweet cream filling and crunchy flaky pastry.

I was so excited to see flowers – winter in Aguilar doesn’t seem to include them.

This is the train station.

Almost every time I hand my camera over to someone, they are confused as to how to use it. This trip Sarah and I were determined to get pictures because our fun in Palencia only included one picture of the two of us in the bus station.

After wandering around a bit we took a trolley down to the river.

Not the best picture BUT it was taken by two nice men who were on the trolley with us. Our communication was very limited because they only spoke a little bit of Spanish.

The view from the top of the bridge. Getting there was a bit tricky but definitely worth it.

On the bridge we ran into the other American girls in our program who were in the city.

The bridge spanned the river Duero which runs through Spain and Portugal. The river in Aguilar (la Pisuerga) feeds into the Duero. So this river contains water from Aguilar and its reservoir.

I got excited about the barbed wire picture opportunity.

The design (and color) of this bridge was reminiscent of my time in Jacksonville.

Bodega #1. The other side of the river was lined with bodegas – wine tasting cellars. Oporto is famous for port wine (no surprise there).

My first taste of port wine. I think this was my favorite.

This wine tasting included a tour of the wine cellar and an explanation of port wine production (in English!). Port wine is stopped after three days of fermentation and grape brandy is then added. This makes it a very sweet wine that has a very high alcohol content. It is then left for 3-70 years depending on the quality. Normally when you drink port wine it is a blend of different ages.

After wine we decided lunch was a good idea. Sarah and I were missing Spain and decided to get chorizo asado.

Oporto is famous for its cod so I ordered fried cod. It was saltier and more oily than I am accustomed to but I did enjoy it.

After lunch we ate ice cream by the river.

In search of another bodega, Sarah and I stumbled across and outdoor craft market.

I will remember Oporto as a city of music – most of it not so great. This young lady was covering Adele.

Still in search of another bodega we thought we would take the scenic route up the stairs. This was the view – not quite scenic. I hadn’t understood the sign in Portuguese that said “parking lot”.

Everywhere in Oporto there were either stairs like this or hills. I was so worn out by the end of the day.

There were also a lot of stray cats.

We finally found another bodega that wasn’t at the top of 1,000 stairs. The blue tiles are traditional of Oporto and I saw them in a lot of places.

Two for me and two for Sarah.

You can see the bottles better in this picture if you were interested in what we drank.

Walking back we got serenaded by a group of Portuguese singers.

They put a coat on each of us – other women I don’t know too.

It was one of the best experiences of my day.

Sunsets are wonderful especially when they are reflected in the water.

It is tradition to put a lock with you and your lover’s name on the bridge and then throw the key into the water.

We ate by the river and this was our view.

This was another thing on our list. This is wonderful wine.

After dinner we walked through the ghetto to get back to our hotel.

Oporto was beautiful but I definitely prefer Spain. Not speaking the native language made me feel more left out even though many people spoke English well.