A not quite perfect weekend in Porto

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Have you ever had one of those trips where everything you try to do doesn't quite work out? That was Porto for us. The museum we wanted to visit was closed, the restaurant we'd chosen was full, there was an hour's wait for the Clérigos Tower.

So instead of what we'd planned to do, we walked and walked, explored the local market and had a tapas crawl along the riverfront.

Porto's historic centre, the Ribero district, is a crumbling but charming working class neighbourhood. Away from the riverfront restaurants, the backstreets are full of local people going about their days. An old man smoking on his stoop, laundry being hung out of a third floor window, women with walking sticks climbing up impossibly steep hills.

At this point, I just want to mention my favourite fact about Porto, which is that all these people are known locally as 'tripeiros' (direct translation: tripe eaters).

Riverfront buildings in Porto

Tiled church

Stopping off for coffee and custard tarts

A local cafe

Lovely tiled buildings

The backstreets of Porto

A view of the city

Colin on the bridge

One thing on our list that we did manage to see was the Photography Museum. The exhibits are in the cells of an old prison on top of a hill, so it's an interesting place to explore with great views.

And as always in any new city, we made a trip to the local market, with its piles and piles of fresh fruit and vegetables. Onions and huge marrows stacked next to boxes of flat peaches and cherries (in season right now and out of this world).

The local market


Tubs of olives

Which brings me on to where to eat: Mercearia das Flores was the best place we went to on our tapas crawl, all organic and a good variety of dishes; Duas de Letra is a nice, chilled place for an egg breakfast or lunch; Cantina 32 is a bit more upmarket, but still good value, and serves up great salads.

We had much better luck in Lisbon! And you can read all about our time there in my other Portugal posts if you missed them.