Dan and I flew into Porto, Portugal on the evening of November 7th after saying goodbye to our friend Jen in Barcelona. Dan had found a nice apartment for us in downtown Porto, in a 200 year old family stone house. Check out the escada room at http://en.guindaisbooking.com.
The next morning we had breakfast at The Majestic Cafe built in 1932. We walked around the city in the rain and that afternoon we went for our first of many port tastings. We visited the Calem and Kopke Port Houses and tried 2 white ports and 2 ruby ports. That evening we had dinner at a local restaurant and ordered 2 of the most famous Portuguese dishes; a tripe and bean dish and Bacalhau(salted dried cod with potatoes).
The next day was my birthday and Dan spoiled me rotten. We had breakfast at the apartment and then walked around the steep and winding cobblestone streets before heading on a cruise of the Douro River. We had lunch at Chez Lapin on the Riverfront, sampling the local Sagres beer and Mateus Rose Wine. That afternoon we sampled Port at Quinta do Noval and Ferreira. In the evening we enjoyed a massage before heading out to dinner at a seafood restaurant called 5 oceans, where we tried barnacles for the first time, along with the biggest shrimp I have ever seen and crab. A Very Special and Memorable birthday indeed.
Our last day in Porto was a Port tasting extravaganza. In the morning, we crossed the Pont Luis bridge to the other side of the river to visit Offley, then to the famous Taylor Fladgate Port House, which was a big highlight for us. That afternoon we visited Sandeman’s for our last taste of Port in Portugal.
The next afternoon we arrived by bus to Lisbon, the country’s capital city. We checked into our B&B in the Bairro Alto district and set out to wander the streets. That night we enjoyed some cocktails and dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The next morning we did some sightseeing including the Castelo de Sao-Jorge, the old Alfama district, and then we visited the Se Catedral. That afternoon we checked out the mall and went to a movie! (A big highlight as we don’t have a cinema in Vlore). We found a nearby sushi restaurant for dinner that evening(Yes, another highlight as we don’t have any sushi in Vlore either).
Our last day in Lisbon we took the train out to the nearby district of Belem to check out the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos , a historic monastery, built in Portugal’s own architectural Manueline style. After our visit we walked along the Promenade to the Torre de Belem, a boot shaped defensive tower, also a reflection of the Manueline style. Then we visited the famous Antiga Confeitaria, the originator of pasteis de nata, custard tarts. That evening we boarded our flight from Lisbon to Athens, then Athens to Albania, where we arrived on the morning of November 14. We very much enjoyed visiting a new country, trying a new language, tasting the Port and dining on some new and interesting dishes.