Monday, 11 June 2012

Police, Perfection and Prometheus

Day 49 - 10.06.12 - Porto

Sao Bento train station in Porto, PortugalAs we got ready to leave the van and go explore Porto, the police turned up.  A group of 3 massive campervans had just arrived and so we worried they’d ruined it for us and we’d get moved on.  Thankfully the police just chatted to them and handed them some maps of the city and that was that.  Phew! 

We headed first to the fine art museum, happy that on Sundays it’s free to enter!  It was an impressive building filled with three floors of paintings, sculptures, furniture and ceramics.  There was also a temporary exhibition on animation that was really good.  Out the back was a pretty garden and fountain, a lovely place well worth the visit.  By the time we left, the grey overcast and rainy morning had made way for a sunny, if still cloudy afternoon.  Sadly we hadn’t bothered with sun cream given how gloomy it looked when we left the van so we did what we could to stay in the shade and cover up.

Cathedral in Porto
Our journey back to the centre of town took in some spectacular sights including the Ingreja do Carmo with its breath taking blue tiled side and gaudy gold interior, the old cathedral on the hill and some amazing examples of Art Deco and Nouveau buildings. 

Sadly even Porto suffers with dilapidated run-down buildings, only here the buildings obviously used to be even grander.  It seems like a disregard for the architecture but more likely it’s just that there are so many amazing buildings here, there is only the money to save a few from the ravages of time. 

Ingreja do Carmen in Porto, Portugal

Despite this, Porto is full to the brim with fantastic things to see.  Even ordinary shop fronts on the main stretch are so often very beautiful.  The lovely Majestic CafĂ© is sandwiched (excuse the pun) between normal every day shops.  It feels like you could spend months wandering around this city and still only see a fraction of all there is to marvel at.  I’ve been completely bowled over by this city and will certainly be adding it to my list of favourites.   

In the evening we headed back up to the cinema to watch Prometheus.  Having heard disappointing feedback from many of our friends we were worried but found it an enjoyable watch.  Once again the view of the lit up city on the way home was amazing.

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