setembro 19, 2007

From the Sunday Times- Instant weekend

O que eles pensam de nós...
"Instant weekend: Porto
Leave the big cities to the hordes and have a pint-size Portuguese adventure instead, says Chris West

Why should I go?
Because Porto is the classic second city. It’s beautiful, but the tourists all seem to have flocked somewhere else. And the touts and the tat and the inflated prices have gone with them. While they’re off battling around Florence, Prague and Barcelona, you can walk the quiet, cobbled streets of Porto, feeling that you’re wandering through a genuine city, rather than tourist make-believe. There are one or two stunning sites, but there’s more joy in turning a corner and bumping into a beautiful, simple church or a shaded alfresco cafe.

Second cities have a knack of providing you with enough culture to keep you going for a weekend, but not so much that you feel like a philistine for not staying a week. A perfectly manageable weekend feast — with a glass of port for afters.

What do I do?
You go for a stroll. Porto is all about soaking up the ambience of crumbly buildings and Unesco World Heritage quarters, not ticking off a list of must-sees.
A leisurely half-day circuit starts amid the baroque buildings of Avenida dos Aliados. Head to Batalha Square, where there’s a Salazar-era “people’s cafe” that now shows cult movies. Carry on upwards to the 12th-century cathedral in Se Square and the four-storey, plain-fronted palace next door, visible from most of the city. Head back downhill to Rua das Carmelitas to visit Lello, a famous bookshop with an art-nouveau interior, and a little further on, the grand Sao Bento Station, its immense atrium covered in tiles depicting early forms of transport.
If you’re still going after all that, just wander. This is a place where getting hopelessly lost in the cobbled backstreets is to be recommended.
As is sampling the drink this city is built on. The port warehouses are across the River Douro in Gaia, where the sea breeze keeps the barrels (or, more pedantically, “pipes”) of port cool throughout the summer. Most offer free tours and tastings, every half-hour from roughly 10am to 6pm (visit for details).
A relaxing Sunday-morning option is the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (free on Sundays, 10am-2pm, otherwise £3.50;, but eat before you go — the food and service are a surrealist movement. (Será que eles sabem disto?) ..."(ver mais)

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