With the help of my cousin Sara, who made a lot of wonderful suggestions, Garin planned a great day for us today. He mapped out the route to the various sites he thought we should see in Porto. From there he texted them to us in the proper order and we used Google Maps to guide us around the city and follow his itinerary. He, of course, stayed home, by himself, continuing to recover from Covid, while we did our sightseeing.
It was quite difficult for us to really enjoy ourselves without him. However, we knew that he would want a full report when we returned, so we kept to the his itinerary exactly, and took lots of photos so that we could make share our day with him. He derives great joy, whether he can join or not, when he knows that he has successfully planned a day of outings. It is so endearing.
We stayed within a very small radius of the house (thankfully our Airbnb is right in the heart of Porto, so we are able to see the major sights quite easily), so that we could be close-by if he needed anything. Luckily, he didn't.
We were out for about four hours and were pooped by the time we returned. He set up quite a busy schedule for us, which included a lot of walking (mostly up steep hills) and many stairs. There were a few moments where I felt pangs of envy that he was home relaxing while we were out pounding the pavement.
We started with the Clerigos tower. which is a Baroque church in the heart of Porto, Its 75-meter-tall (240 ft) bell tower, the Torre dos Clerigos, can be seen from various points of the city and is one of its most characteristic symbols. http://www.torredosclerigos.pt/en/
After climbing the 200 steep and narrow stairs up to the top of the clock tower, we were famished. We stopped at a lovely local sandwich shop and picked up lunch for a picnic. The bread was fresh and delicious. The shop was so simple, offering only four kinds of sandwiches. Can you imagine Jersey Mikes only offering four types of sandwiches? I love the simplicity of Europe.
From there, Garin had us heading for the Sao Bento Train station, again in the heart of town, not far from the clocktower. This train station is often described as one of the most beautiful train stations in the entire world. And this is not an overstatement. There are walls and ceilings covered with 22 thousand tiles - azulejos - by Jorge Colaço, painter, caricaturist and potter. https://www.europeanbestdestinations.com/travel-guide/porto/sao-bento-train-station/
The next stop was the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso Church. Garin told us to pay particular attention to the exterior facade, as it was very unique, but also to go inside. Unfortunately, it was closed. https://www.discoveroporto.com/en/what-to-see-in-porto/santo-ildefonso-church/
From there we moved on to our final stop for the day, the Se Cathedral de Porto. It was magnificent and included an incredible collection of perfectly preserved artifacts (robes worn by priests and bishops; and other priceless liturgical objects dating back to the 15th century. https://www.diocese-porto.pt/pt/catedral-do-porto/
Although the walk home was only about 10 minutes, it was all uphill and by then we were quite tired. We were glad to reach home and give Garin the good news from our day of sightseeing. He was so happy to hear all the details of his successful planning.
After I rested my feet for a short time, I suggested to Garin that I take him out on a short walk (just the two of us), to get him out of the house, since he has been so cooped up. He was more than amenable to the idea. We just strolled around our neighborhood and enjoyed the perfect day (70 degrees and breezy). We had a lovely time together, both us appreciating the walk together for different reasons, or maybe for the same reason?
I took the kids to Matosinhos, (https://porto-north-portugal.com/matosinhos-porto-portugal.html), a lovely, seaside town near Porto, for a delicious seafood dinner. All the seafood is caught that day and then grilled simply on an outdoor grill using olive oil and sea salt. We had a whole sea-bass. On the side we had baby potatoes and a salad (very typical in Portugal). On the way out, the grill master allowed Miles a try at the grill. We brought some home for Garin to enjoy.
I got these great sunset, seaside shots of the kids as we headed home along the coast. The sun doesn't set until 9 PM! Glorious.