First visitors, Red Bull Air Race, Port Caves
04 September 2007 | Porto
Arrived in Portugal at Leixoes (pronounced 'layshoinsh'), a suburb of Porto, to be met by Deb and Joe who arrived at the marina at the same time, loaded down with our shopping request of Tesco's Bombay Mix and Oatcakes, and who stayed with us for a few days.
We were expecting the language to be similar to Spanish however it is completely different with, what sounds like, an eastern European accent. Surprisingly, we reverted back to UK time although we had only dropped south, down the coast. There is a distinctive Englishness about the place with most people speaking the language, signs and transport info in English, red post boxes and similarities with UK architecture. We took the metro into Porto which was one of the best public transport systems we have ever used being very cheap and easy to navigate around. The city is very clean, the setting on the wide River Douro is beautiful with lots of old, terraced buildings. The port cellars are on the south bank and all offer free tours with a tasting at the end. Unfortuately, we were too late to visit the Taylor's cellar but our perseverance paid off at another cellar where we were lucky to have a private tour and tasting. During our stay, the Red Bull Air Race was taking place. 13 pilots and planes from all over the world were taking part in a slalom course down the main river in the centre of the city. The planes were about 60 feet above the water and we had waterfront seats along the river banks to watch from. It was very exciting and heats have taken place in London, Rio de Janiero, Istanbul, USA etc. The weather here is more like what we were expecting - hot, so we are now turning brown at last. If you have never visited Porto, or rather Oporto as it is known locally, we can thoroughly recommend it. You have to be fit though as most of the city is on a hill with lots of steep streets. Check out the photos of Porto in the 'Portgual' album in the Gallery.
Waved goodbye to Deb and Joe and then found a Lidl's store nearby where we did a re-stock for the next journey.
Off today (Sunday) for an overnight trip to Navare before the next destination of Lisbon where we should be able to give you a further update later in the week.