Monday, November 5, 2012

Puente in Oporto

Puente in Spanish means "bridge" and is also the word used to refer to a long weekend. For example, if there's a holiday on a Friday, it's a "puente" because it "bridges" the week to the weekend. We made the most of our first puente in Spain and took a road trip to Oporto, Portugal. As is becoming a common theme around here, we left later than we wanted and then took a little 1.5 hour detour (i.e. got lost) along the way, but we still arrived in Oporto in time to see the city by night, take a glimpse of the beautiful train station, have a drink and appetizer at Cafe Majestic, the oldest cafe in Oporto, and sample our first seafood in the port town.

Walking down a main street. Destination: Cafe Majestic.

Clock in the beautiful old train station.

Roasted chestnuts bought on the street corner. Apparently, these are all over the place in Madrid winters as well. Can''t wait because they were delish!
Not only was Oporto our first Spanish puente, it was also our first time using Airbnb to book our lodging. Luckily, our first experience was a good one. We started out Saturday morning with breakfast at a nearby cafe that came recommended from our Airbnb host. Then we happened upon several flea markets, climbed the Clerigos Tower, walked through the Mercado do Balhao and eventually made our way across the Dom Luis bridge, that spans the Duoro River, for some port wine tasting. 

Once we crossed the bridge, we were in for a treat! We started with a port wine tasting at Porto Kopke, where we were super glad that we'd only ordered one tasting to share when we saw the large pours, were impressed with the chocolates that accompanied the port tasting and left with a beautiful bottle of port from 2009 (our marriage year) that we're saving until a big anniversary that has yet to be decided.

We thought about stopping in the large Sandeman's winery for a tour but changed our minds when a large tour bus unloaded just in front of us. Instead, we took a tour of a smaller winery, Vasconcellos, before returning to the other side of the river. 

I recognized the Sandeman's labeling. Do you?
The color of port wine changes significantly with time.

Rows of barrels.

The next afternoon, we rounded out our experience in Oporto by having the freshest seafood of our lives, where they literally pull the fish out of the Atlantic, transport it less than a mile, throw it on a grill and serve it. There's a street in Oporto (that I unfortunately can't recall the name of and every Google search I've tried is failing me!) that is lined with outdoor seafood restaurants. Again, we would have never known about this area if it weren't for our Airbnb host. 

More than satisfied with our time in Oporto (It may be one of our top favorites yet, and we would happily return!) and smelling a bit fishy, we jumped back in the rental car and started the longish, yet pleasant, journey back to Madrid.

No comments:

Post a Comment