Monday, September 24, 2012

Porto, Portugal Sept 7th-10th, 2012

azulejos in the sao bento train station, lovely station

train station

another ceramic mural in train station
fun cafe with illy coffee 

arab room in the stock exchange building, was functioning as a stock exchange up until the 1990's

detail in the arab room, was beautifully decorated. building was full of art nouveau architecture- photos weren't allowed
buying port in porto, a very difficult choice

churches were way overly baroque with lots of guilded wood, most of the churches looked like this
azulejos everywhere, these were on wall of the cathedral

cathedral, you can see the tiled wall

ostrich leading the hunt? on cathedral wall

wonderful ceramic store fronts

we rode the 1920's tram out to where the Douro river met the Atlantic

port very close to where Atlantic comes in

art nouveau store interior

famous Majestic cafe, beautiful original art nouveau decoration

dutch art in the Serravalves park, bit out of city center

Serravalles Park where the modern art museum is

interesting signs for the toilets

a lalique gate in a house in the Serravalles park


one of rooms in the casa da musica designed by Rem Koolhaas and opened in 2007

 casa da musica

bridge designed by eiffel connecting the two sides of porto

Porto from the river

riverfront in Porto, now a UNESCO site

our breakfast/dining room in the Grand Hotel do Porto, very old worldly style

lots of downtown Porto was in complete disrepair, very sad

for some reason we were upgraded to a suite, the guilhermina suggia suite. She was a cellist in early 1900's and had stayed in this suite. the main auditorium hall in the casa da musica was named for her!

one of the tiled churches, this was an early 1900's church
pretty tiled table 

lovely stairwell

an islamic stone piece (granite) in supposed house of prince henry the navigator
another ceramic storefront

 train azulejos in train station

This is what I mean about over the top woodwork, this is the tree of Jesse, with the 12 tribes of Israel
the Sandeman was everywhere

looking toward side of river where all the port warehouses are
Porto, where port is made, is on both sides of the river Douro. It has a lovely setting with pretty bridges crossing it. The city's hay day was in the 1700's when the churches with all their intricate woodwork became guilded and way too lavish. The trams were fun, all the stone work was granite which glistened in the sun, art nouveau architecture was easy to find, and the blue/white ceramics (azulejos) were everywhere. The downtown area was very run-down and we found it sad that such pretty houses etc could be left in such disrepair. They have a wonderfully clean new airport and a spotless metro coming into town from the airport. The people were very nice and almost all the younger people everyone spoke wonderful, unaccented English. We enjoyed very much the sites we saw but did find it a bit sad.