May 24, 2024

Porto Arrival

As much as I was dreading the flight on Ryan Air, it was a very smooth and uneventful flight. We had upgraded to premium tickets so we had assigned seats, as well as “priority boarding”. That just meant that if you were at the gate early enough you got into the queue to get on the plane ahead of the non-priority passengers. If you didn’t, then you were stuck in the queue wherever it was when you showed up. Luckily we heeded the alert to head to the gate a little more than an hour before takeoff.

I was seated next to a very cute two year old, whose parents were mortified every time he made a sound. I just kept smiling and telling them it was fine. He was fascinated with my iPad, but declined to help me with the NYT crossword. We arrived in Porto and our next destination was the Metro. We were not sure how to find it…

It was a very easy trip on the metro with one transfer to get within a couple blocks of our AirBnB here in Porto. It’s a lovely 3 level apartment overlooking a little alley off another alley. There is a restaurant right below us. After dropping our luggage we were all a little “hangry” so we found a restaurant just up the hill, we had a reservation for 9PM so we just wanted a drink and a few tapas. The restaurant also had the sandwich called a Francesinha. It’s a slice of bread topped with steak, topped with more bread and then ham and sausage, topped with bread and cheese and tomato sauce. It’s Portuguese hangover food. (For the record we were not hungover) For us it was like having a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with tomato soup poured over the top!! Talk about childhood memories.

We explored the waterfront area for about five hours before our next meal! Which meant walking around and stopping at a few different wine bars… Yes, periods of starvation followed by periods of foodie excess! Dinner was at a tiny (16 person) restaurant called Taberna dos Mercadores. This was a recommendation from my stepbrother Dwight and his wife Laurance. We made the reservation a month and a half ago, which was a good thing because there was a huge line of people with no reservations hoping to get in. We ended up seated next to two young women from New Jersey (They were in Portugal to see Taylor Swift) who tried to get in last night, but worked their way to the front of the line, only to be turned away! But they came back earlier and were rewarded with a table tonight. They knew exactly what they wanted to order the moment they sat down.

We were happy to have a more leisurely pace! The service was great, our waiter had a fun sense of humor, and the food was excellent. Holly had the flaming sea bass.

I had Veal and a HUGE pot of Risotto! Large enough for the whole table to share. Brian had Cod and Jane had Ribs. Soooo much good food. By the time we were done it was well after 10:00 so we made our way home and fell into bed!

What a great first day in Porto! And yes, for the record, we might need another Francesinha in the morning. Although we have a food tour starting at 11. Stay tuned.