Porto – Photographers’ paradise
Port wine is named after the city of Porto, which is located in the Douro river valley, where the wine is produced. But it is not the love for the wine, which took me to Porto. Truth be told, my love for wine is like faking an orgasm. Never was a huge fan of wine due to its tartness. But had tried port wine once and liked it sweet taste. But never knew the history of this wine or cared for it. What attracted me to the city is, based on my research, the medieval sophistication with a semblance of modernity with it elegant bridges connecting it with the lesser known but equally important twin city, Vila Nova De Gaia. My pointed question to the hotel staff and others who I spoke to in the hotel was “Where are the vantage points for taking photographs of Porto”. So it is my penchant for photography which took me to Porto and I was not disappointed. Porto is a haven for photographers.
Carrying my 4 year old daughter, who had her own little camera in her hand, I ended up packing my itinerary with lots of walking around. Most of my time was spent in the Vila Nova De Gaia neighborhood due to the views of the beautiful Ribeira neighborhood across the Douro river.
One should walk across the iconic Dom Luis I bridge for an excellent view of the Douro river. This bridge connects the Porto and De Gaia cities, offers excellent views of the Douro river. Dom Luis I bridge is a double deck metal arch bridge. The top layer is meant for the Porto metro and for walking. The bottom deck is for vehicular traffic and walkways on both sides. It resembles the Maria Pia Bridge, a railway bridge, running parallel to Dom Luis bridge. The resemblance is due to the fact that Dom Luis I bridge was designed by Theophile Seyrig, a disciple of the Paris Eiffel tower fame, Gustave Eiffel, who incidentally resigned the Maria Pia bridge.
I walked in the Ribera neighborhood for a while. I ventured to the Porto Cathedral, with its predominantly Romanesque architecture but effectively an eclectic mix of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque architectures, I stopped by gasping for breath due to carrying my daughter and soaked in the beauty of the cathedral and the surroundings.
I did not try out Port wine even when I had free coupons when purchase the tickets for Teleferico De Gaia, which I took to go to the Dom Luis I bridge. dumped them in the garbage nearby. Maybe I was sick and tired of the fake orgasms. But truth be told, I was in the familiar company of my wife and daughter and I didn’t need to be pretentious. But I tried their local beers, both Sagres and Super Bock. My preference for the rest of my travel in Portugal was Sagres due to the smooth taste of the lager.
To round up my article, the vantage points for photography, based on my liking is
- Dom Luis I bridge – top deck view
- Miradouro Elevator De Lada
- Teleferico De Gaia
- Ferry up the Douro river but least of my preferences
In conclusion as a side note, I noticed, in retrospect, the People of Porto were more friendly and willing to help, compared to other cities like Lisbon. That is a positive factor, which stands out in my memory when I think about Porto.
Another reason was the history of Porto itself, particularly the second battle of Porto fought between Anglo-Portuguese forces and French army where the French army was defeated in 1812. This was the precursor to the larger well-known event, Battle of Waterloo which happened 3 years later in 1815 where Napoleon was defeated by Wellesley. Incidentally the Anglo-Portuguese forces in 1812 battle were led by Wellesley.
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