2011: visited Porto for the first time with the amazing group of interns I was part of. Even better, one of them was a gal named Anita and Porto saw the very beginnings of our friendship.
2014: took Nico to Porto and happily rediscovered some charming places I had in memory.
Before the actual Porto part, I must introduce the lovely house we stayed at. Located 30 km away from the city, Solar Egas Moniz is a true haven of peace in the small village of Paço de Sousa. Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by Eva, who told us the story behind the house.
Eva and her family run the house and strive to make the visitors feel at home. Inside, everything is done to convey a soothing and relaxing feeling. The decoration is carefully chosen to respect the whole spirit they wanted to give to their hotel.

The rooms aren’t numbered but named after virtues. Altruismo, lealdade, humildade

Waking up in the morning is already a joyful moment as guests discover the delicious breakfast which is served in a beautiful, cosy room: a choice of various breads, cakes, cereals, yogurt and plate of fresh fruit for each table.

Solar Egas Moniz is a little gem in the portuguese contryside. However, we could hear the Azulejos calling us from Porto. The city boasts many many buildings covered with colorful tiles, from the typical houses to the churches, the facades look so precious.

Given the heat, it didn’t take long for us to need to sit down and grab a drink. We couldn’t avoid Porto’s most famous and antique place, the Majestic Café.

Without really knowing what to expect, Nico & I ordered the Sangria de Espumante. We received two big beautiful glasses full of bubbles, pink freshness and red fruits. And when we tasted it, we were simply amazed. Guys, this is the best drink I’ve ever experienced. We’ve been trying to find the recipe ever since, without success.

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, sometimes reminded me of San Francisco with its many streets going up and down. Its historical center, the Ribeira area along the Douro is registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; meaning: it’s a must-see.

For lunch, we stopped at Clérigos, a spanish/portuguese tapas restaurant. I didn’t take pictures of the food because I was too busy eating, but, I can assure you it was very good. Grilled sausage, fried squids, bread with tomato, patatas bravas… all in small portions so you can have a bit of everything, perfect for me.

A bit heavier than before, thanks to those delicious squids with their garlic sauce, we resumed our descent in direction of the Douro river.

Along the way, we passed by the Bolsa Palace and red Mercado Ferreira Borges.

The long riverfront on the Douro is filled with restaurants and bars, offering the possibility to drink and dine with a view.

On Sunday evening, the World Cup final was being played, and a big screen was installed on the Ribeira square which was absolutely full with football fans and tourists. We were one of them. Between the “ooooh” and “aaaaah” of the people, we followed the German victory with our cocktails and snacks.

My second visit to Porto confirmed my first impression: it is a charming city of “reasonable” size, which makes it very pleasant for a summer visit as you are not in the middle of some chaotic crowd of tourists (hum hum, Paris?!). Plus, it’s definitely the place to be for Porto wine lovers ;)
note: some of the pictures are Nicolas’ work.