09.11.2009 - 09.14.2009
After the longest train ride ever we arrived in Porto Portugal. We went straight to the tourist info office to get a map and she even showed us where our hostel was (we had booked this one in advance). So, knowing where we were going we headed to the hostel. When we got there, we were quite shocked to find out that they didn’t have our reservation. It turned out that we had written down the wrong hostel, we hadn’t actually booked that one; we had booked a different one. They were extremely helpful and pointed us in the right direction and we were off to find our hostel.
When we got there we were happily surprised, our host Martin, gave us some coffee and sat us down to relax a little while he checked us in. It was awesome. The place was called The Yellow House, and we highly recommend it as a place to stay in Porto. They had a backyard where you could go outside and hang out, and a grill if you wanted to use it for cooking, and a full kitchen. We got a double room, which was nice so that we didn’t have to do the dorm thing, though it would have been fine; all of the people we met there were super friendly, lots of Australians, some Germans, Swiss, Austrians, and more. Not to forget the house kittens, gato and mas gato. They were really sweet and cuddly.
For supper we headed up the street from the hostel to a little restaurant and got 2 soups, 2 mini pizzas, and 2 cervajas for only 6 euros! Yeah, things were finally getting cheaper ☺
With full tummys we got back to the hostel and found some homemade sangria, apparently they make some every night for the guests to enjoy for free. We each enjoyed a glass while meeting some of the other guests.
The next day was the day we booked grandstand seats to watch the qualifying round of the Red Bull Air Races! We got up and enjoyed the hostel provided breakfast and headed down to the river for the air show. The streets were already filling up with people.
Being airplane nerds (Darren especially) the Red Bull Air Races were a sight to behold. These pilots are incredible. They fly so close to the water along the Duro river and do a half cuban eight so frickin close to the cities bridges that you really think they could crash and burn any second. Watching it on TV is nothing like seeing it in person. Over a half million people line the river and the narrow streets to witness the event. This is something everyone should add to there bucket list. There was also an incredible air show before, after, and in intermission. They had the Portugese airforce, brietling aerobatic team, a bunch of helicopters and more.
The next day we had planned to blow off the air races and do some sight seeing in the city. We gave it our best effort to check out the Portuguese Stock exchange and to sample some port wines on the other side of the river, but we kept getting distracted by the planes roaring through the city so we gave up and enjoyed the show for rest of the day. We did make it across the river and had a totally different perspective of the race coarse. We parked ourselves on top of the hill and took some more pictures and video.
The following day we booked ourselves on a late afternoon train to Lagos. Most of the Aussies we met in the hostel recommended that we go there to experience the Algarve. That morning we checked out of the hostel and finally got a chance to do some Port wine tastings. All the good wineries are across the river from the main city so we dropped our packs of at a train station locker and crossed the steal bridge. The wine tastings are the thing to do in Porto. Most of the wineries let you taste the wine for free or for maybe 1 euro. The port wine we have in the states is a little iffy but the stuff in Porto in really good, strong as hell too. As luck would have it we ran into one of our Aussie hostel mates along the river font and checked out one of the tasting rooms with her. Her name was Alex and we had gotten to know her pretty well over the last 3 days. Turns she was on a massive trip here self and she had come to Porto from Lagos were she had worked during the tourist season (more on her later). After maybe a few too many glasses of port we barely made our train and headed south to Lagos.
Picture overlooking the city of Porto
Darren by one of the big steel bridges the race course was confined between
Darren & Colleen with the River and Porto in the background
Darren & Colleen Tasting some Port Wine