Perfectly Porto – Stuttgart, Germany Travel Photographer
My husband and I work on what seems to be a magazine timeline. When we are traveling, we are normally prepping for when and where about 5-6 months in advance! It’s just how we roll and I like having things planned and paid for as far in advance as I can to fully enjoy the wanderlust. This one, however, took a different turn and was a little more spur of the moment, as in 2 months spur of the moment. We like to live on the “wild side” from time to time.
We looked at our January calendar and saw our kids had a 5 day weekend after a 3 day holiday weekend. You know, because why would we want them to go to school a full week when we JUST got back to school from an extended holiday break. I digress. It worked in our favor because the husband got some time off work, we plugged in random locations to the EasyJet schedule and voila, it showed some super cheap flights headed down to Porto, Portugal. Score one for us.
Since it’s off season in January we also scored an AMAZING apartment via AirBnB for a great deal as well. Win/win for us. We were a little nervous we may encounter rain the entire trip since January is also considered the rainy season. We figured if all else fails, we would simply duck into the places we wanted to see and spend time in the grand apartment too.
Well, lo and behold, that worked in our favor too. See? Porto was our destiny.
We were delayed getting in, but we settled quickly and made the first stop a very important one. Food AND Drink!
Can we talk about Porto sangria for a minute? I love sangria and always have. I had some delicious ones in Spain both times we went there, but I can tell you that I will fly to Porto just to have one now. Amazing.
We finally figured out that it was the fizzy and extra fruity that made it amazing. I may or may not have looked up recipes within an hour of arriving home. No judging.
The next day we hit the ground running and stopped at Sao Bento train station around the corner from our apartment. The lobby of this station is decorated with tiled scenes on each wall and it’s pretty amazing to see. I also fell in love with the yellow glass windows as we entered too.
We ventured over to Sao Francisco church and catacombs after that. Sadly no photos were allowed in the church. It was phenomenal to see the amount of craftsmanship and work that went into the carvings that encompassed the walls and ceiling. Definitely worth a visit and the inexpensive entry to get in.
Luckily, the catacombs did allow photos. We are a sick and twisted family and if a city has some catacombs and bones that are hundreds of years old, then we’re all in! This one was set up quite different than others we have seen. There were “doors” on the floor where tombs are kept and the walls are lined with engraved names. There is a small area with peep hole below the flooring where you can view the bones kept there. Definitely a must see in Porto.
For any JK Rowling fan or fan of beautiful book stores, I highly recommend heading to Livraria Lello. It’s a spectacular bookstore and said to have aided in inspiring the Harry Potter series. It’s 4 Euros to get in, but if you buy a book that price is taken off of the final cost. Since Maya is a HUGE Potter fan she grabbed a British version of the book while we were there.
Around the corner is an interesting building. It’s 2 churches side by side, however, between them is the smallest, narrowest apartment. Porto does not allow churches to share a wall so this tiny house was built in between instead. We also wandered the streets, popping in shops, taking in some warm chocolate in the Majestic Cafe and myself being in awe of all the beautiful tiles and color in the city.
I’m not a fan of port wine, but when in Porto, right?! We found a winery to tour with a tasting of course and learned quite a lot about the making of port wine. I tried several types and I must say, I still do not care for port wine at all!
Our final full day after I did my usual early morning photo walk, we knew we had to head to the beach. We’ve realized being landlocked that we truly are beach people and all 4 of us miss it dearly. There’s an instant change in our demeanor once we hit the sand and water.
Everyone who came to Porto met up for a boat tour and walk to the monastery overlooking the city. Let’s be clear. We started the Porto trend and one by one all these jerks joined us on our adventure. Luckily I love all of them dearly so it made Porto just that much more fun and adventuresome. I’m just happy we never got kicked out of any eatery or off the boat. I’m sure we came very close! We all were able to enjoy the last Porto sunset together. The sunsets definitely did not disappoint. There’s nothing like a sunset by the water.
Porto made it hands down to pretty much the top of my list of favorite places. The people were so nice and gracious and the food is BY FAR the best I’ve ever had in my life. If you have a chance to go then jump on it and head there! It doesn’t disappoint!