Porto is so close to Schiphol

Closer in fact than any of New Zealand’s airports to an international destination.

So if your wife is having a birthday what better present than a weekend away. This sort of present has the added benefit of allowing me to travel with her.

I’ve heard good things about Porto from a few friends that visited in the past and I’ve been keen on having a look at Portugal ever since visiting Spain last year.

We spent four nights in Porto and managed to have a good look around while we were there. The old town of Porto is a rabbit warren of streets with buildings that were both beautiful and run down at the same time. The tiles that adorned some of the buildings were amazing but the tile murals both on the inside and the outside of buildings like the train station equaled any art you see in art galleries.

Tile art in the Railway station

Porto is most famous for it’s Port wine and we tried a fair amount of it. The tasting structure they have set up in each of the caves is very good and places like Sandeman’s and Calem’s have cellar tours to give you a little history behind the development and making of Port. Kate and I have been fans of Port for many years (we take it on kayak camping trips for a little after dinner culture) and the opportunity to taste multiple types (white, rose and red) and ages was very good fun. I had never drunk White or Rose port before and both were very nice as an aperitif but my favourite Port has always been Tawny and I got to taste a 40 year old Sandeman that was like nectar from the gods.

100 years of Port

If you are having Port you need to have food and we tried a few of the local dishes. One of them called Francesinha wouldn’t ever get the Heart Foundation tick but it was delicious. It consisted of two thick slices of bread stuffed with ham, pork, chirizo and other sausage, covered with cheese then grilled, placed in a plate of spicy tomato sauce and topped with a fried egg.

First meal in Porto













We played tourists for a day and went on a hop on hop off bus and river cruise and visited some of the museums. The photography museum was interesting if you are into cameras and as per usual I found the history of this city fascinating. I do like to explore new places and if Kate wants to go back to Porto for another birthday I suppose I could go along to keep her company 🙂

The houses of Porto