Porto Journals

Porto: Portugal's Northern Star

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An April 2001 trip to Porto by Eve Carr

DomLuis Bridge Photo, Porto, Portugal More Photos
Quote: Relive Portugal’s might sea conquests as you wander the cobblestone streets of historic Oporto. Enjoy stylish accommodations and the hearty cuisine of the present as you stay in Oporto’s historic district at the Pestana Porto Carlton Hotel. Then reach out and discover the “undiscovered” beauty of northern Portugal.

Porto: Portugal's Northern Star

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Overview

DomLuis Bridge Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Portugal is famous for its plush resorts and beaches in the southern Algarve. Visit less-popular northern Portugal, and you can enjoy a relatively undiscovered gem laden with historical treasures. Start in the city of Oporto, or Porto, as the locals call it. Capture the flavor of the city by sitting at an outdoor café at the popular Praça (square) da Ribeira in the historic area along the Doruo River. Ah, to sip a glass of Port wine in Porto. Now that's traveling. Portugal is world-famous for this fortified wine, and Porto is the heart of Port activity. The grapes for Port wine aren't grown here, but upriver along the scenic Upper Douro River near Sp...Read More

MuseuSerralves, Museum of Contemporary Art

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Attraction

MuseuSerralves, Museum of Contemporary Art Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Porto’s museums showcase the country's rich history, as well as art, through permanent and temporary displays from other museums. The ultra modern MuseuSerralves, Museum of Contemporary Art, on Rua D. João de Castro, offers regularly changing exhibits and is a stark contrast to the ornate styling of the Baroque. If you don’t care for modern art, vist this attraction for its spectacular 44-acres of formal French and English gardens. Wander the grounds and make time to relax under the wisteria-covered verandah restaurant, where you can enjoy a pleasant meal surrounded by nature. On the weekends, it seems that all of Porto is at the Foz do Douro along the Avenida de Don Carlos at the mouth of the A...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 25, 2001

MuseuSerralves, Museum of Contemporary Art
Rua D. João de Castro
Porto, Portugal

Douro port boat Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
At many of Portugal’s larger restaurants, you can a wide variety of imported wines. But, to truly capture the flavor of the country you are in,I think that it's important to try the local wines. (Besides, in most cases, local wines are not readily exported.) In Portugal, there are white (blanco), red (tingo) and rose (rosado) wines, as well as a specialty of the Douro region, vinho verde or green wine. No, this is not a Portugal version of Green Eggs and Ham. Vinho verde is really a white or red wine. The "green" simply refers to the color of the young grapes when they are plucked. Although it can be served in regular wine glasses, it seems to taste better in champagne flutes, because...Read More

Sip a Glass of Port, Portugal''s Pride

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Story/Tip

Port Wine Shop Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Port was born out of necessity says Alistair Robertson, Chairman of the Port wine firm of Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman. It came into existence when spirits were added to wine to keep it from spoiling during shipping. In the 17th century when Great Britain was at war with France, he says British traders became interested in the robust wines of Portugal. Now in its fourth generation, Robertson’s firm of Taylor Fladgate & Yeatman is still family owned and managed and, in fact, is the last of the totally independent company of the original British Port houses. From Porto, it's easy to tell that the Port wine industry is alive and well. Just take a look across th...Read More

Architecture as Art

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Story/Tip

Sao Bento Train Station Photo, Porto, Portugal
Quote:
Porto offers a feast for anyone who appreciates architecture. Medieval, Baroque, and Neo-Classical styles—they're all here. One of the first things you notice is Porto’s sixh six bridges that span the Douro. The Maria Pia, built in 1876 and now used for trains, was even built by Gustave Eiffel before he constructed his famous tower in Paris. The double-decker bridge, Dom Luis, in the Old Town area, is perhaps the most famous. One of the city’s most famous bridges lives on only in the hearts of local residents. Along the busy Casis da Riberia at the Douro waterside, a bronze plaque memorial with burning candles pays tribute to people who died on March 29, 1809, while fleeing the invading...Read More

Fado is Famous

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Story/Tip

Quote:
If you’re into music and are visiting Portugal, you must look for clubs that feature fado folk music. This soulful melancholy music expresses what they call "saudade," a haunting, poignant feeling of passion for a lost love or other personal longings. This is strong, powerful, emotional music even if you don’t know the language.


If you want to listen to fado before your visit to Porgugal, look for recordings by Amalia Rodrigues. When Rodrigues died in 1999 at the age of 79, her obituary called her the "Ambassador of Fado," and credited her with making it world famous. Today, singers such as Argentina Santos carry on her tradition.