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.

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