We'd had a pretty busy first day in Porto and I really slept soundly. As is typical for us, we awoke pretty early in the morning to stretch our legs and do some exploring. We'd found that mornings are almost always the best times to see things......you'll be in less of a rush and, especially in Portugal the streets are quiet and empty.
We headed up to the area that seems to be the heart of Porto; the Avenida dos Aliados, the "Avenue of the Allies". The street commemorates the marriage of King John (Joao)I and Philippa of Lancaster, creating an alliance between Portugal and England.
The avenue and promenade is lined with some nice examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings. A statue of King Pedro IV on a horse stands at the lower end of the street and City Hall the top.
I'm sure everything here has a story. It's a nice place to stroll on a cool morning, all the grand buildings around. I wondered about the statue to the right. I could find very little, at least in English on "The Naked Girl - Youth" by Henrique Moreira, sculpted in 1929.
This is also the location of McDonald's....yep, McDonald's. What's the big deal? Well, they call this location, "Imperial McDonald's" and it's supposedly the most ornate and beautiful McDonald's in the world. In case you're wondering....it's not Imperial by declaration. I was told that this was the former site of Imperial Cafe, which became derilict and run down. McDonald's took over the space in 1995.
Man, talk about fancy-schmancy.....I'd feel down right uncomfortable getting my McNuggets on here!
Still, this was just a McDonald's, so we headed back up to the area near Rua Catarina and the large Mercado do Bolhão. Before heading in, we decided on getting breakfast at Confeitaria do Bolhao right across the street.
We were mainly after some espresso, but also had a few other items, which were decent, but rather non-descript. The prices were very good....if I recall, two espressos and pastries for like 5 Euros.
We also picked up a Broa de Avintes for later on.....
A cup of espresso, carbs in our belly....we were ready for the world, or at least a visit to the Mercado do Bolhão.
Thanks for reading!