Candice and I just completed the first day of our European Coastal Civilizations tour, spending a delightful day in Porto, Portugal. After setting sail from Lisbon, our ship headed north overnight and docked on Friday morning at the Port of Leixoes which services the city of Porto.
Quoting from the ship’s news,
The city of Porto, built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, is an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. Its continuous growth is linked to the sea (the Romans gave it the name Portus, or port). It is the second largest city in Portugal, after Lisbon, and one of the major urban areas of Southern Europe.
Porto’s history goes back to pre-Roman, Celtic times, and it was during the Middle Ages that it developed into one of Portugal’s most important trading cities. It was in the 18th century that Porto became an important link between the Douro Valley wine producers and wine importing countries like England.
The old city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is where we spent most of our day. Two outstanding interiors, the Stock Exchange Palace and the Church of St. Francis, were off-limits to cameras, so you’ll have content yourself with click-throughs on the links. We were able to take some exteriors around the city, which will give you a flavor of an extensive center city that is struggling, under difficult economic conditions, but nonetheless remains lively and attractive.
As we enjoyed a beer and sangria in an old city market with new friends from Texas, Candice and I agreed it was a great start to our trip.
More to come…