After dropping off our provisions at the apartment, we headed up to Clérigos Church and Tower.
The tower, which you can see from almost every vantage point in Porto and the church took over 30 years to build and has become one of the enduring symbols of the city. The tower stands at 250 feet tall and since it stands on a hill, the views are outstanding.
The entire structure is built in the baroque style, designed by Italian architect Nicolai Nasoni. The facade of the church is quite imposing as it stands against the clear blue sky of Porto.
Instead of heading right in, we took a walk around the tower. We saw folks having their morning coffee, the produce stand, which also conveniently sold postcards and other knickknacks was doing a nice business. I always wonder what it's like living in the shadows of a fairly busy monument....all those tourists like us wandering around....
There are 225 stairs to the top of the tower, which start fairly innocently, but soon things start getting kind of cramped. There's room only for one at certain points....you'll have to stop and let other pass you. One woman seemed to be having a bit of a claustrophobic attack.
Looking down from above provides a view that's almost Hitchcockian, or depending on your point of view, perhaps MeL Brooksian. Either way, I'm not a big fan of heights........
One more thing, when you reach the top; you see that bell? Well, it does ring on the hour....it went off, quite loudly, and I almost jumped out of my shoes. It's very, very loud.
The payoff is a wonderful view of the red rooftops of Porto. Very nice on one seemed a typical, clear day in Porto.
And even if you're not a big fan of red rooftops, the others views aren't too shabby either.
The interior of the church is small, but very ornate. You'll find the tomb of Nocolai Nasoni in the church as well, as he asked to be buried here.
We wandered around a bit, then decided on grabbing lunch.
Along the way, we passed Ingreja do Carmo...Carmo Church which had some beautiful tile work (Azulejos) which depicts the founding of the Carmelite Order.
I had a place picked out for lunch, but the Missus really made me work for it......we headed up Rua Martires Liberadade, down another, and yet another street, until we hit Rua do Bonjardim and eventually Restaurante Antunes.
Noon is early for lunch on a weekend, so the rather small, but elongated restaurant belonged totally to us.
About 15 or so minutes later, the place started filling up, mostly with older, very properly dressed locals...for a nice weekend lunch I assume.
This restaurant is well known for their pernil.....pork leg, which, of course we got. It was a bargain at 15 Euros.....
This of course, was a load of food as it came with a ton of roasted potatoes and spinach which was much like esparregado. In terms of "pork pump", it was a decent dish, but a bit on the tougher side and it could have used more flavor.
The one dish that blew both of us away was the classic Porto dish Tripas à moda do Porto (8 Euros). This was so good.....
The smoked pork and chicken were basically garnishes; this was a hearty stew, thick and rich, with amazing flavor, the beans, cilantro, oh my..... The tendon was nice and tender, the tripe perfectly prepared. The Missus declared this one of Her "desert island dishes" and wants to go back to Porto just to find the best version. It is, without a doubt one of the best things we ate on this trip.
What was really funny is; our Server spoke no English, but it's obvious they push the pernil (pork leg) here. When we ordered this, he immediately protested, "no....no!" But we persisted; heck we had a kitchen, leftovers were welcome! Truly, they should be pushing this instead of the pork leg....but I guess folks are afraid of tripe, tendon, and a gooey stew. The supposed history of this dish is also quite interesting. According to legend, during the Conquest of Ceuta in 1415, Henry the Navigator commandeered all of the best provisions of Porto; which included all the best cuts of beef. All that was left was offal to feed the residents of Porto. The rest as they say, is history.
We left....fat and happy....
Rua Bonjardim 525
Knowing that we didn't have to eat all the food (we wiped out the tripas), made things so easy for us as we headed back to the apartment to drop things off.
The downtown area of Porto, away from all the shops was very quiet except for the occasional student excursion group.
The Missus decided that it was time to cross the river and have a taste of Port wine!