Friday, November 29, 2019

Porto - Barcelona Day 2 - Second Day in Porto

Good morning Porto! All set for the second day and waiting for our Uber to go downtown. Our main concern for the day was to send our empty/extra luggage and bike packing stuff to our last destination so that we can travel light on our bicycles. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
This DHL service centre was not enable to courier our luggage because they only do collection of parcels nevertheless one of us ended up buying a watch from the shop. We have to try another service centre.
A bit of sight seeing while we were locating for other DHL service centres.
The second attempt was also not successful, our luggage were too big for them to handle. By then some were hungry and accidentally found Restaurante Nova Launda for the best ever deal. It is located next to the DHL service centre at GPS : 41.145691, -8.604228
This was the cheapest meal we have ever had for the entire trip, it was only 5€ per person for a complete set lunch complete with soup, main course, dessert and drinks. The drink could be mineral water, wine or beer and finished off with a sweet dessert and coffee. We fell in love with this local joint, the people are friendly and a family run food outlet. 
After the satisfying lunch we took an Uber to DHL Global Forwarding somewhere near the airport at GPS : 41.232896, -8.666164 and finally we were able to couriered our luggage. Two luggage bound for Granada and one to Barcelona, the charges were pretty high RM216.00 for the one to Barcelona as compared to our other trips like Seoul to Busan, probably we were using an international and branded courier company. Anyway, the issue of extra luggage has been resolved and we shall proceed to enjoy our holiday with lesser luggage on us.
We walked to Botica Metro Station which was about 800metres from DHL and back to the city centre (at Trindade Station) to meet up with the rest of the group.
Roasting chestnuts at the road side like you see in Malaysia or other parts of the world. This is the Porto's setting. These chestnuts would be good when sampling with the local Portuguese wines.

At the City Hall Building with a statue of Almeida Garrett, a monument for the local statesman, writer, orator and playwright who was born in Porto. I guess the big blue lettering "PORTO" must be a recent add-on work.
A brief visit to Sao Bento Railway Station and wonder what is the story behind the so many blue ceramic wall tiles we hope we will find out soon.
A busy train station providing connection to the people around the region and functioning as the main suburban lines.
At last we regrouped at the Tourism Centre Office.
This street that leads to many shopping outlets, drinking joints and the street has lovely things to see.
Colourful & terracing Porto in a simple perspective.
Some bought these tee shirts for themselves to remember Porto with their bicycles.
A bit of walking around seeing nice historical buildings before we adjourn us for a dinner.
The sky was getting dark as we slowing walked to the restaurant.
We came a night before and could not get a place to eat, a booking was made last night for a table of 8 and here we were waiting for the restaurant to open to savour its popular food and beers. It's Brasão Cervejaria Aliados located at R. de Ramalho Ortigão 16  GPS : 41.149214, -8.611565
A Portuguese beer house with interesting interior ambiance and of course it's famous for its beer, wine & sangrias that fit in very well all together with the food. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
The food were unique and yummy where I don't get to see very often back home. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
And finally a dessert to complete the dinner.
Cheers and a wonderful dinner at Brasão Cervejaria Aliados. Thank you Mel for a good recommendation and looking forward for more.
Meet Mr. Fernando Lopes de Almeida. Sr. Acácio Branco whose shop is known as Barbearia Garrett it is sited just next door to the restaurant I had a chance to take this candid picture with the man himself. Opened in 1958 at 12 years of age, from the shop he could see the birth of Porto changing from a countryside to a city. The Barbearia Garrett has been the scene of many photoshoots for fashion catalogues and medias. Thank you once again Mr. Fernandos Lopes. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
Good night Porto and we will see more of you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Porto - Barcelona Day 1 The Expedition begins with Porto as our First Destination

After a series of meetings we finally embarked on a kind of European expedition with a total of 8 of us. On the 26 October 2019 near midnight 4 of us met and left KLIA via Dubai flying with Emirates Airlines to Porto, Portugal.
Our packed luggage for 2 bikes, tools, clothing and others weighing 40.2kg, our Emirates Airlines tickets which came with 25kg each, hence we still have room for more stuff when we come back home.
The first leg of our flight from KL to Dubai taking a time of about 7 hours.
4 hours of transit at Dubai International Airport before another 6.5 hours flight to Porto. By the way the return ticket for this trip was RM3,500 and flying back to KL from Barcelona.
Finally we landed safely at Porto International Airport and feeling very excited upon the arrival where our holiday began.
From Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport we took a Metro train to Casa da Música station, a subway train ride of about 25 minutes together our Brompton bicycles and luggage.
At last our bicycles were out from the Dimpa bags and getting ready to roll on the ground of Portugal. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
All set and ready to roll with a lovely weather and temperature of about 15°C
Less than 1km away from the station we were at 
Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque, it's a small park within a roundabout. I was expecting to see food trucks in this place but there was none probably it was Sunday. GPS location : 41.158109, -8.629914
Then we stumbled upon a square and suddenly there was loud noise of celebration, that was at Praça da Liberdade of Proto
Apparently it was the Queima das Fitas (Portuguese for Ribbon Burning) is a traditional festivity of the students of some Portuguese universities, organized originally by the students of the University of Coimbra.
Most of the roads in the centre and old Porto are not friendly to most bicycles unless you use mountain bikes. 
One for the album at the popular square of Porto.
Having fun next to the statue of Dom Pedro IV. Dom Pedro, nicknamed "the Liberator", was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil. As King Dom Pedro IV, he reigned briefly over Portugal, where he also became known as "the Liberator" as well as "the Soldier King".
The partying groups in a continuous parade streaming down the streets with colourful costumes and loud music. The sense of celebration is indeed overwhelming.
With the newspaper man statue in Porto, a tribute to newspaper vendors and it is located across from the Sao Bento train station.
We then left the square where we passed by Igreja de Santo António dos Congregados at GPS : 41.146193, -8.610477 as we headed towards Douro River.
We found out that the road can be very steep and tough to ride.
I saw this big street art as I was checking whether there is any access down to the river side and it was a big no no.
Never use Google Map in walking mode when you are in Porto with your bicycle. It might seem a short route but it will ended up a disastrous one like this. It was definitely stressful coming down the stair with our loaded bicycles. 
By the time we finished the steps the sky was getting dark, we rested a while next to Luís I Bridge . An arched bridge carrying low-level road & a high-level metro line between Porto & Vila Nove de Gaia. With another 2.5km and along the Douro River we found accommodation at R. de Sabrosa GPS : 41.143661, -8.586659. Kevin & Mel have already checked into the apartment while Joe & Lynn were expecting to arrive by midnight.
Our first night out hunting for food, Mel was our connoisseur and a good one. We eventually found Laurear for a good Portuguese dinner.
I love the seafood and never thought Portuguese food can be so good and delicious. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
A short stroll after a good dinner before we call it a night on the first day.