Sept.20 – Spain and Portugal – Porto

We entered Porto, Portugal today.

We arrived on the coast north of the town on the toll way.

There are no freeways in Spain or Portugal. There are no freeways in America either if you think about it a little. Just different ways of paying for the same thing. Like health care, but that’s another topic.

The town is built on a hilly outcropping of granite.

There are few flat spots in this town. It is a town of hills and more hills. It is not an easy town to walk around in.

There is an underground here and it is growing now everywhere we turn. the traffic is a bit of a mess in town due to the construction.

Porto is on the Douro River and was a port town in the distant past. Thus it was named “Porto.”

The port has been moved north form here to take in bigger ships and more commerce. The town is on both sides of the river.
The southern portion of the town is larger and has a different name.

We had a nice lunch today of cod fish mixed with potatoes and topped with melted cheese. It was great. Vegetables seem to be in short supply on this trip. It is a meat and potato tour I guess.

We usually have several nice courses but veggies aren’t usually one of them.

We had a city tour today with a female guide. She took us for a good walk to the train station covered in the tile showing us a grand panorama of history and landscapes.

We then walked to a nearby church with more carvings covered in gold leaf and finery than I have seen in some time.

Our guide was full of interesting facts and history. She was interesting and made the tour very enjoyable.

The town had rent control years ago so many buildings are in ruin as the landlords had no money for repairs as the costs for upkeep go higher as the rents remain the same.

This is a difficult issue and looking more deeply into the matter always shows the folly of this practice. The tenants only see the landlords as evil and money hungry and don’t think about the investment that the landlords have made with part of their hard earned income. This too, is another topic worth looking into, but not here.

The buildings are narrow as the property taxes are levied by the width of the frontage on the street. Many of the exteriors of the buildings are covered in tile of all colors and patterns. The blue tiles similar to the Delft tiles seem to be the most prevalent. Many of the roofs are made of thin, black slate tiles.

We walked down into the area where the poorest people live and climbed down many flights of stairs and steep inclines. If it’s raining think twice about this walk. Its not easy after a night of rain for some.

The weather has been perfect, lately.

Many people speak no Spanish or English but we managed to get our point across when necessary. My Spanish is nearly useless here but there are some words that are carried over from the past relationship with Spain or at least sound similar. The spelling is often different.

I am very glad we made the decision to come to this part of the world so far. The food and the people have been very pleasant. I can’t say that for all places that I have traveled to, but most have been wonderful.

Our group seems to have no issues at the moment and everyone is in a fine mood. That can change quickly however. I have seen it happen. I don’t think that will happen on this trip, however. Everyone seems very nice and willing to what is necessary to make things work.

Nothing has gone awry so far as far as I can tell. Tomorrow is another day and who knows what might come our way or be in store for us. It is always interesting to see how we react when things don’t go our way.

Our guide has done a fine job so far as has the driver of our bus. He and the bus have left us now. We will use other transportation in the coming days.

The photos of this trip will be up shortly. I need to revisit my tech person.