Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Europe Travels: Porto, Portugal

18/6: Porto, Portugal


Manchester > Glasgow > Edinburgh > Scottish Highlands > AberdeenLisbon > Porto

We were in Porto for a day, before catching a morning flight to Madrid. Yeah, that's 2 consecutive days of sleeping in the airport.

We woke up in the wee hours, called a cab, and took the train from Lisbon to Porto.

This was also the last day of our egg tart frenzy hehe.

One of the first landmarks that we saw.. Capela das Almas. This church has such a beautiful ceramic exterior, which stands out from its neighbours.


Breakfast at Nata Lisboa
Check out the tempting rows and rows of Portuguese egg tarts! After this trip, I realize that I really love Portuguese egg tarts a lot. It has got to be one of my favourite food in this world hehehehe. Yep, 5 months later and they are still in my list of food cravings.

These Portuguese egg tarts are supposedly the famous ones from Porto, but they were such a disappointment. They were served at room temperature, which lessened the enjoyment and it was also quite sweet for my liking, unlike the ones I had in Lisbon. BUT.... They were selling the same egg tarts at some metro stations and I decided to get them for the last time and they turned out to be so much better surprisingly! The temperature of the egg tarts can really make a significant difference on its taste. Or maybe it was just the inconsistency of the standards..

Another local pastry that we had which was mediocre because it was cold already :(

Cherries season in Portugal ^^ Look at that gorgeous colour! They also taste much better than the typical ones.

Passed by a cheese shop..

2nd stop for breakfast: Bolhão Market

We had this Portuguese egg tart for only 50 eurocents but it wasn't nice at all.


After exploring the market, we were enticed by the numerous pastries which were on display at this random coffeeshop. Before we knew it, we were already making our orders hehe. We had more Pastéis de Nata and local pastries but unfortunately they were yet another disappointment.

Majestic Café
This cafe used to be named as "Elite Cafe" (glad they changed the name) and many influential figures visited this place before. A pity we didn't manage to check out its interior as it is supposedly one of the most beautiful cafes in Porto.

Lunch was at Cafe Santiago for their famous Francesinha. The Francesinha is the dish to try when in Porto. It has been dubbed a heart attack (one of these sandwiches has more than 1000 calories) served on a plate and it is considered as one of the 10 best sandwiches in the world. Cafe Santiago supposedly has the best franscesinha, of course we had to try it!

Layers and layers of meat patties sandwiched between bread and wrapped with cheese, and then topped with an egg. This "heart attack" sandwich is surrounded by heaps of french fries and drenched in gravy. One word to describe this - shiok!


Shopping avenue at Rua Santa Catarina


Saint Anthony's Church Congregados

Photogenic stretch of houses

Clérigos Church with its intricate baroque architecture

There is a tower beside this church and visitors will have to climb 240 steps to get up. It doesn't look very tall though.

Edutainment time at the Portuguese Center of Photography

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Yet another magnificent-looking church - Igreja dos Carmelitas

I was surprised to see this other side of the church. These tiles make such a gorgeous contrast to the granite stone.

The intricate details of its interior

Lello Bookstore
This is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and has been titled the third best in the world by Lonely Planet. A must-visit for Harry Potter fans.

Art nouveau exterior


Royal-looking winding wooden staircases


São Bento railway station


Those neat columns of buildings in the city centre.. I approve!

Luís I Bridge

With the babe 


Panoramic view of Porto



Blusher colour: Sunburnt

Clustered

Porto Cathedral - the most prominent church in Porto
Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there.


Hazelnut gelato at Finzi to combat the fiery hot summer.
Summer in cities like Porto has got to be one of the worst! It was so uncomfortable to stay outdoors for a prolonged period of time when the weather can reach temperatures of up to 40°C. Thankfully, Singapore's weather is mostly tolerable.

Restaurants by the riverside
Weather was blazing hot and I really have no idea how people can tolerate dining and chilling at al fresco areas at the hottest times of the day.

Pretty colours

We didn't stay for long there and we made our way back up after briefly exploring the area.


One of the rooms in the Old Stock Exchange Building
and.. there was aircon.. which was an extremely precious commodity at that point of time.

We had a european fusion dinner at As 7 Maravilhas which was awarded certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor. The smoked salmon and wasabi sandwich was such a surprise! The contrasting flavours surprisingly went well together and the white bread was so soft.


Saw these coin pastries (what are they???) and tried them but there were not nice at all T.T 

Our last food stop for the day... Desserts at Spirito Cupcakes & Coffee!
We randomly chanced upon this ice-cream and bakery shop and going in was one of the best decisions we made hehe!!! Pictured here is their snickers tart. It was one of the yummiest snickers tart I've ever had. Drizzled with caramel and paired with a crumbly biscuity crust, this was neither cloying nor overly sweet, and certainly hit the spot!

Chocolate and caramel cheesecake
This cheesecake was on point! Texture was so luxuriously creamy and smooth and as sweet as the combination sounded, it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet. Also, did I mention.. these cakes come with whipped cream served at the side! Yep, whipped cream lover here.

Had to take a selfie with my favourite cake hehe
Because the cakes we had were so good, we got another red velvet cake to accompany us through the night at the airport. It wasn't as amazing as the ones we had previously but it was a sweet ending, literally, to our trip in Portugal :)

As we still had time to spare, we went to check out the cool building, Casa Da Musica. Well, we were obviously more interested in the market opposite it which had a mini fun fair going on too.

Fun fair food!! Churros! We were too full for them though.

Me and my 1.5L water bottle haha.. those were the days!

Managed to catch a glimpse of The Peninsula War Monument which was surrounded by the fun fair. This is one of the more interesting monuments I have seen! Situated at the top of this pedestal is a lion on a dying eagle. This monument was erected to celebrate the victory of the British-Portuguese alliance over the Napoleonic forces in the early 19th century.


Evening in Porto

We were like vagabonds wandering around with no home to return to..

10pm and the sky was still so bright. Loving the summer hours!


Last supper in Portugal
Although we were still full, we decided to try another francesinha near the train station so that we could do a comparison with the best.


Winner: Cafe Santiago.

After supper, we took the train to the airport. While waiting for the train, we saw this mentally unsound man jumping onto the train tracks and refusing to come back up. It was such a scary sight.. After he got up, he randomly came up to us and other strangers, and said something in a language that we could not understand. The police took him away after that :/

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