A Travellerspoint blog

Poor Porto

sunny 23 °C

Thanks to the British aristocracy’s love of port wine in the mid 1800s, Porto (also called Oporto) became one of the most splendid cities in Europe. It had magnificent waterfront buildings…
Beautiful churches…
And flambouyant castles…
The Castel Santa Catarina was built by a wealthy aristocrat, Comendador Antonio Pimenta da Fonseca, in the late 19th century just to house and impress his guests. It is now an opulent hotel stuffed full of original antiques and sumptuous furnishings and it certainly impressed us…
From our turret room in the castle everything in the city below looks picture perfect, but when we take to the streets we find a city falling apart faster than Detroit. At least half of the buildings in the city’s historic core are crumbling and boarded up…
The old city centre may be a World Heritage site but the roofs are falling in, floors collapsing and entire blocks are being left to rot, but there is a bright spot…
These dockside warehouses with their terracotta tiled roofs have been the repositories for the giant casks of ageing port for more than a century…
Each of these oak casks contains upwards of 60,000 litres of fortified port wine for as long as 50 years. The city of Porto is awash with port and every producer wants us to visit their ‘cave and try their ports - ruby, tawny and white. These smaller barrels are for maturing the tawny ports…

For the next few days we are going to follow the river Douro to find the vineyards, the source of all this booze. The river meanders drunkenly as it winds its way through Portugal and so will we if we continue accepting all of the free samples of port on offer – life’s tough for tourists here.

Posted by Hawkson 01:46 Archived in Portugal

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Wonderful photos!!!!

by Jenny Jose

Are you sure its just the river meandering drunkenly with all that gorgeous port around. Such a beautiful looking city.

by Sue Fitzwilson

I think you already know this but just in case... I always drink port at Christmas, especially the 30 year old... :-) and since you are back home at that special time....
BTW, great pix of Sheila

by gottfried

what a beautiful restaurant and how sad that such a historical the city is crumbling.

by Janet

OH, but my heart bleeds for you poooor tourists (or should I say my liver?) I, too, enjoy port at Christmas...and am likely not to be able to tell a 10 year from a 30 year old bottle...(if you are making a guest list up :)

by catherine

Great photos, it looks like you are enjoying yourselves, and getting into the spirits!

by keithandhelen

Glad you are soggy no more. Envy the sun. Fogtober now. Socked in all day. Sheila looks the very picture of the fine diner with her well poised spoon! Gorgeous colour in the church tile. Must be a story there. Dutch import perhaps?

Ps I'd enjoy a world heritage building for Christmas. Fit one in?

by Tom

dont drink too much port or your "roof" may also fall in..still foggy this morning here! I havent seen fog like this for many years. love Jean

by Jean McLaren

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