Thursday, May 29, 2008


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Scott and I are just back from 4 days in Porto, Portugal. Amazing little city. It's been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, it's the home of port wine, and it's a quick 2 hour flight from London. What more could you ask for?

It rained--poured--the entire time we were there, but somehow we didn't mind. Our first stop was to purchase cool umbrellas from a local store (Scott was firmly redirected by the shop keeper when he tried to purchase a "women's" umbrella), and we didn't look back.

Highlights include:

--Amazing "azulejos" tiles on facades all over the city

--Learning lots about port wine and visiting cellars and tasting lots of port (makes for a delightfully hazy trip)

--Beautiful architecture spanning medieval to baroque to rococco to art deco & beyond

--Day trip to stunning Douro valley (east of Porto, where grapes are grown)

--A few memorable meals, including lunch at Graham's port lodge--traditional bacalao (salt cod) dish, and at another restaurant whose name I can't recall with yummy fusion food including a basil salmon fritter and spectacular chocolate suffle with mango ice cream

--Creepy church shrines/saints' remains/statues. My favorite is a carved wood panel from the Sao Francisco church, depicting Os Santos Mártires de Marrocos--a group of missionary monks beheaded in 1219 in Morocco:

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