Just a Few Snaps Around Town

We went to a museum in Porto that is free on Sundays. The free part was fortunate as the museum itself was quite boring, proving that art can be too conceptual to be interesting. The grounds of the museum, the estate of a benefactor of the arts, were a little more interesting.

Porto

From the other side of the river, Porto looks like a historical artifact, some sort of scale model of how it once was. It would be unreal if it wasn’t so real.

Porto

Near the port houses, there is a staircase that has been painted with humorous scenes of buildings in the area. The painter (painters?) was quite talented as the images are deceptively real when isolated, but even more fascinating in context.

Porto

All About Port

The port “houses” are on the other side of the river from Porto. Many years ago, wine in barrels came down the river from the highlands where the grapes were grown and stomped before being shipped to the city for aging and exporting. Now, trucks bring the wine here but the buildings have never changed. Set low along the river, there’s a gondola ride that gives an aerial view of the area.

Porto

Almost as if planned for photographers, there was a port house converted to a museum with photographs of the area dating back to the 19th century. The people in the photos were usually doing something or staring at the camera rather than posing, as the camera was an unfamiliar device to them. For 10 euros, you could spend all day in the museum and then walk across the street for the included glass of wine.

Porto

And Porto at night is beautiful. We walked across the bridge (which carries no traffic except light rail) to look down, stopping on the bridge to take a picture.

Porto

On To Porto

Another train ride took us north up the coast to Porto, a city best known for the wine bearing its name. It’s a thriving area with an extensive light rail system (if only San Francisco had one system that covered the whole city…) It also is a city that still has the country in it, urban development hasn’t taken over everything. Just wandering from our apartment to the water (Porto is on a river), we found a path down a hill into a bucolic country scene between large commercial buildings.

Porto

There were cobblestone paths, stone walls, and centuries-old houses that lent a feeling of antiquity to the walk. Here in the states, it’s unimaginable that any neighborhood like this would be preserved when massive office buildings or apartment complexes could be built.

Porto

This wasn’t some area preserved for visitors, it was a neighborhood unto itself, with residents, laundry hanging, and probably some chickens wandering beyond the wall. Interest from residents of the houses indicated that there probably aren’t many travelers walking in the neighborhood.

Porto