Porto: Day 3

I walked around the corner to grab two cappuccinos to go and the nice attendant handed me a tiny bottle of Moscatel do Douro, maybe because I was the first customer of the day. Perhaps the sign of a good day to come!

I rented a bike and was happy to see that the shop was about 200 meters from my Airbnb, right on the river. It was a classic 5-speed hybrid, perfect for cobblestones. I set off west for the mouth of the Douro and the beach town of Foz, on the Atlantic. En route, I took a detour through the Parque de Cidade, winding through the gravel paths and ponds. I headed back to the seaside bike trail through Foz and then over a bascule bridge (Ponte Móvel) up through Leça de Palmeira, before heading back for lunch in Foz. The owner of the bike shop recommended Salta ó Muro, and I’m glad he did. I ordered the grilled dorado. The serving was generous with some vegetables on the side. It was delicious. The man seated behind me was from Lucerne, Switzerland. He told me that he and his family visit Portugal all the time. He expressed surprise that I was so well informed about European politics and culture (for an American) and I joked that people imagined that I worked for an intelligence agency (my standard go-to in these situations). He gave me some Algarve recommendations. He also asked to follow my blog. I worked off the lunch on the 19 mile round trip ride, a nice break from the city crowds.

After dropping by my flat, I thought I’d trudge uphill (always) to revisit the Sé do Porto (cathedral). On the way I was sidetracked by an intriguing wine bar. The owner features wines and ports from his vineyard and we had a nice chat, with me getting more free Portuguese lessons. I also spoke with a young German couple from Hamburg. The woman had lived in Hatboro, PA of all places, working as an au pair. Her partner’s father had served in the Luftwaffe and they lived for a time in Alomogordo, NM near the now-closed airbase and he spent part of his childhood there. They both spoke with the perfect neutral American accent. I told them I was planning to visit Germany in the spring and they gave me some neighborhood recommendations in Hamburg.

Walking around the cathedral area and then meandering down cobbled streets to the riverfront made me appreciate the charms of Porto even more. Really, three days is the minimum to really appreciate this lovely city.

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