I flew into Porto on Friday afternoon. It was about a two hour flight from Valencia. On Friday, we had lunch at a cafe that served Franchesinas, which are the sandwiches Porto is famous for. They are made with thick bread, several types of meat, covered with melted cheese, and a hot, thick tomato and beer sauce. Our Franchesinas had ten different types of meat. It was incredible, and unlike anything you'd find in Spain.
After lunch, we climbed 240 stairs to the top of the Clérigos Tower, which is a church bell tower. No building in Porto reaches higher than the tower, so you can look down on the entire city. Once we made our way back down, we headed to the Douro River. We did the "Six Bridges Boat Tour." There are six bridges along the Douro River in Porto, and our 50 minute boat ride took us underneath each one. The weather was absolutely perfect. It is not nearly as hot as Spain. Being on the boat and feeling the cool wind made me feel like I was in northern Michigan!
On Saturday, we spent the day exploring the city and wine tasting. We crossed the river and did tastings at a few different wineries, and got a tour of the Offley cellars. Somehow, we managed to get all of our tastings/tours for free, which was a bonus! Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to visit actual vineyards (it takes an entire day), but we were able to visit Porto's wine district along the river, where all of the port is stored and aged. We also visited Livraria Lello, which is considered the "third most beautiful bookstore in the world." It is also where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration to write the Harry Potter series. Walking around the bookstore, I felt like I was in Hogwarts! Sadly, photography is not allowed inside of the bookstore, but I'll add a few photos from the Internet so you can see how beautiful it is. Saturday night we saw a huge parade in the middle of the city, which was a continuation of the San Juan festivities. On Sunday we just relaxed in a cafe, as we did not have much time before leaving for the airport.
Something I found shocking about Portugal was the language. I always thought Portuguese was very similar to Spanish. However, this is not the case. The locals told us it is very easy for them to understand languages such as Spanish, Italian, and French, but it is nearly impossible for others to understand Portuguese. In addition, English is widely spoken in Portugal. In fact, a lot more people speak English than Spanish.
Overall, it was a very relaxing weekend. It was so nice to have a break from the intense heat of Spain. I really enjoyed Portugal, and I absolutely loved the locals in Porto. Everyone is so genuinely kind! Oh, and I finally got to eat "normal" breakfast food (scrambled eggs and toast), so that was exciting, too! :)