Porto in the AM

Earlier, I stated that my opinion of Porto had vastly improved after spending the first part of the week there. It’s improved even more.

After a well needed sleep I arose around 5:30 and enjoyed two Nespresso espressos in the room and checked messages. I decided to go for a long walk down the hill to the Douro riverfront and walk to the lighthouse on the Atlantic in Foz, which I’d passed on the bike ride on Tuesday. It was still dark when I left and the streets were empty. After descending the Rua da Restauração I reached the riverfront and headed west under the high arch bridge, Ponte da Arrábida. As the sun began to rise some walkers and runners appeared. I took a photo of the lighthouse and turned around as the sun was rising. When I climbed back up the hill to my hotel, I checked Strava to see that I’d gone 7.2 miles.

After a trip to the room, I Googled breakfast spots and saw that highly-rated Early was only 5 minutes away. I’m glad I checked it out. At 9:30, I was the first customer. I joked with the server about the lamentable cappuccino scene in Portugal and she promised that they knew how to make one. It was delicious. I ordered two poached eggs on their freshly made bread and a side of seared broccoli with carrot kimchi for some missing probiotic action. The food and ambience were perfect.

While I was eating, I saw one of the staff speaking with a woman who I thought might be the owner. After she left with a carton of pastries, I asked the server if she was the answer and she said “yes”.

On the walk back, I saw her getting out of her Audi and I asked if she was the owner. She was and she asked if I wanted to see her guesthouse and brunch area and she showed me an extremely well executed interior including a wall filled with their curated wines, spices and olive oils. She then showed me their rear garden, which interestingly adjoined that of my hotel next door. She and her brother own the guesthouse, a shop called Earlymade and the restaurant. She had been an asset manager and her brother had earned his PhD and had lived in New York and London. Patricia said they dropped it all and followed their passions. They’ve been in business since 2015 and have been featured in The New York Times and The Telegraph. Their elegant guesthouse is called Rosa Et Al. The people I meet!

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