After lunch at A Grade, the Missus decided that we should take a walk along the Ribeira, the scenic waterfront....though She didn't quite have the usual walk in mind.
I really loved the vibe that Porto gave off......
There was a no nonsense feel to things, a wholesomeness, hard working, honest, "from the gut", in that way, it strangely reminded me of QingDao.
Anyway, instead of the usual walk along the waterfront, the Missus decided we should head up to the the Porto Cathedral....but not in the usual manner....nooooo. Instead, we headed to the end of Rua Infante Dom Henrique and through the tunnel...
Ending up under the iconic Dom Luís Bridge.
Here the Missus ordered me up stairs.....after marching up and down the hills of Coimbra, my walking legs had gotten into shape. Still, I had on idea where we were exactly, but we kept heading up those steps, under windows with hanging laundry and some buildings that had been....well...modified to accommodate the bridge.
I'm wondering when this "modification" was done since the bridge opened in 1886......surely when the brisge was perhaps retrofitted?
Eventually....after "heading to the light" we made it top side, and found our way to the Porto Cathedral.
Much like the Cathedrals (Sé) in Lisbon and Coimbra, the Cathedral of Porto was an imposing Romanesque structure, almost fortress like in appearance. Like its counterpart in Lisbon, construction of the structure began in the 12th century and features the classic "Rose Window".
As intimidating as this building might be, for some reason I really took to it...perhaps because there was a wedding ceremony taking place at the time of our visit. I really wanted to leave....because who wants their wedding ceremony viewed by a bunch of uninvited tourists?
We quickly made for the ticket station, paid, and headed to the cloister. Like much of Porto, there's so much wonderful Azulejo work. I was told that much of it depicted the "Song of Solomon".
This is worth the price of admission.
In many ways. the medium is binary....blue and white. and yet, the textures, the shading, the expression, never ceases to amaze me.
The Sacristy was a sudden shift to what seemed an almost baroque theme, but no less impressive.
If you needed any other reason for heading to the Sé in Porto, how about the view?
And then there was the wedding....I'm not sure how I'd feel about having my vows done in front of an audience of perhaps a hundred tourists, but this couple didn't seem to mind.
And the Missus took these adorable shots.......
Within the area Northeast of São Bento Station is Rua Catarina, the main shopping area in Porto...pedestrian only streets; with iconic locales like Cafe Majestic.
Fairly close to this area was the shop that João told us would make a good Francesinha, the local specialty sandwich. It seemed to me that Portugal was full of these wonderful "sandes" from the Bifana in Lisbon to the Leitao Sandes it just seemed that there was a knack for pork based sandwiches.
So we ended up at this shop called Cafe Santiago....which looked more like some fast-casual restaurant. The place was empty except for a couple of "old-timers" having espresso in the corner, watching the television.
I'd read a bit about the history of the Francesinha; which is based on the Croque-monsieur. There are three versions at Cafe Santiago; I went with the basic version.
Not much more to say......until you see what this thing looks like.
It almost looks artificial......I was told that many people judge the sandwich on the sauce, which in this case was a light, thin, tomato-beer based, with mild spice. I thought it tasted like tomato soup....the Missus hated it.
Cutting the samdwich in half reveals the true evil that is the Francesinha, in the meat department; salsicha fresca - a hot dog like sausage, linguica, bife - sliced roasted beef, mortadela, and fiambre - ham.Two types of cheese were used , melted inside and melted over the thing.
I kinda liked it in a "calorie-bomb" kind of way. The Missus was totally disgusted, She wouldn't let me have another during out time in Porto...even though I wanted one. I should have ordered the "Francesinha a Santiago", which had fries and was topped with an easy-over egg!
The service was kind of gruff, but the place was clean, and I don't recall ever having a sandwich quite like this....this is definitely not a Croque-monsieur!
Rua Passos Manuel 226
Well, here's another dish to cross off my list!