Hello Porto

I’ll admit it. We’re (at least I’m) getting old and concerns re my ability to handle the rigors of long distance travel do arise. On Wednesday, we were on deck at 6:45 AM local time, arriving at our hotel in Porto, PT, around 5:30 PM on Thursday. That works out to roughly 26 hours in transit with three flights, a metro ride and a couple of hours on a train. After hotel check-in, though, it was a pleasant surprise that the idea of a sit-down with a glass of wine in a nearby street café sounded wonderful.

It turned into a couple of wines, a couple of beers, a little food and bed by 10:00. Nothing like hay hitting on a local schedule to help kill the jetlag blahs.

Anyway, Porto is gorgeous—terracotta-roofed buildings climbing the hills on either side of the Douro River, cobblestone streets, churches, towers and, as one would expect, a lot of Port wine. Our first full day in country was spent in 100 percent tourist mode, with tickets for the “hop on, hop off” providing quick transport to a large portion of the north bank.

The port wine cellars seem to be on everyone’s “must see” list in Porto, but we skipped them. Compensating for this shortcoming, we have been drinking our share of this luscious fortified wine.

Porto is where the Douro River reaches the Atlantic and the beaches along area are busy with locals catching rays and cooling off. The surf today was probably running 3-4 feet, but judging by warning signs, sea walls and piers, I suspect the waves get a LOT bigger. When someone says “beach,” I’m inclined to think Kamaole, Waimanalo or Sandy’s. Here on the Atlantic, water temperature’s probably in the upper 60’s and instead of that fine, white sand you find more of a gravely mixture. Still, it’s a beach.

Enough blah, blah… Today, Friday, we’re back on a train to Lisbon for a couple of days.

All the raw, un-edited pix are here.

Noted:

Portuguese Sausage has been on the breakfast menu, but in wafer-thin slices. They just wouldn’t cut it on platter at the Likelike.

Salt and pepper don’t seem to be found on Portuguese dining tables.

The garlic sauce on Thursday’s dinner should make us vampire proof for about a month. Ono!

Very pleased our bags made the tight ATL and CDG connections.

In route, I think I wore the same outfit as Euro 2013. #nofashionsense.

Out the door
Out the door

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New server

I’ve moved the Pau Already blog to a new Microsoft Azure server. Let me know if you encounter any issues.

— Update 24 August, 2014
I think all the tech stuff should be wrapped up. paualready.com or www.pau… should work, The domain name you see in the browser and in content links should also show he public domain name.

Lots of docs

Travel docsLaurel builds wonderful travel books that really help to make our trekking smooth and easy.

In what may be a bit of hyper-preparation, I hit the local Triple-A yesterday and acquired an International Driving Permit. Many travel books tell you these are a must for international motoring, but over a span of many years and dozens of international rentals I’ve never been asked for one. I drove close to a thousand kilometers in Croatia in 2012; got nabbed in speed trap and was never asked for an IDP. The speed gun toting Croat cops, while kindly asking for 700 Kuna, never requested anything other than my DL.

On the other hand, we’ve got four car rentals covering about half of the travel days booked for this trip, so I guess it’s best to grease this skid. I must be getting old.

T-10 days to Euro 2014!

With Morocco in the mix, maybe we should call it “Euro+2014.”

Anyway, we made one little plan update this past week (staying in Sintra for a night, one less night in Faro).

In a nutshell, Euro 2014 is:

  • The Iberian peninsula from Lisbon to Barcelona and from Gibraltar to Andorra
  • Morocco
  • French Basque country (Bayonne, Pau, etc.)
  • Paris

Lots of driving plus a little train, plane and air.

I can’t wait.