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Helen retired in June and her husband in August, 2013. They now have more time to enjoy France, and other adventures, including spending more time together. More Info

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March 2017
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Travel, travails and happinesses

February holiday

March 7, 2017

Over recent years we have had the pleasure of finding new places for a few days holiday, within driving distance of South west France. Martel beyond Sarlat, where there is a preserved railway, Lacanou Ocean, by the sea, and Benidorm (in October) for example.

This year we decided to try somewhere that is reachable from Bordeaux airport. Courtesy of good old Ryan air, we travelled a similar distance to England but in a different direction, arriving at Porto, the second largest city in Portugal. What a pleasure!

The centre is easily reached by metro from the airport and we stayed in a querky hotel called Pao de Acucar. It was cheap and clean, convenient for the metro, railway station and hop on hop off bus, and provided a large comfortable bed and more than adequate breakfast.

Here is evidence of its querkiness:


 We began with rain but ended in sunshine, lunching on the last day at a restaurant on the Riberia, beside the river.

In between we travelled on the open top bus to get an overview of the whole city (and to save my knee from too much walking!) went on the historic trams, as well as up and down on the funicular railway, and, the highlight for the husband, went to the end of the railway on the line which follows the Dourho valley.




Sao Bento railway station, beautiful.

We also visited the Cathedral, afterwards walking over the top of the bridge, beside the metro line which links both sides of the river. The bus trip included a sample of Port, and our evening meal sometimes ended with a complementary glass as well. We enjoyed all our meals not least the cheapest one, of spit roast chicken and chips.


View from the bridge path, beside the metro line.

This restaurant’s party trick was to set fire to the fish!

Most interesting to me was the bookshop, ‘Livraria Lello’. You have to pay to go in (refundable if you buy a book) but it is fascinating, and said to have inspired some of J K Rowling’s ideas for Harry Potter, as did the Majestic Cafe, where we had tea and a Portuguese custard tart.


Livraria Lello


There were steep hills to contend with, but other than that,nothing to complain about. The Portugese were pleasant, and the prices reasonable. We had a thoroughly enjoyable few days, and would recommend it.

by Helen. Find out more about Helen here.

Categories: Travels