Day 17: No Port in Porto


Day 17
Date: Thursday, Sep 22, 2016
Start: Malaposta
Stop: Pensao Cristal, Porto     👍
Dist (Day/Total): 27/386 km
High Temp: 23 C/73 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

Another late start today – 7:30 am.  But the hotel started serving breakfast at 7:30, which is included with the room.  So, I decided to eat breakfast there.  It was buffet style, like you get at Hampton Inn.  Although they had just opened and hadn’t even put everything out, the large room was 3/4s full, with more people coming in.  All the other patrons were exclusively business people.  As I got closer to Porto, the number of pilgrims had increased significantly but I don’t think Malaposta was a normal stop.  Most people probably stop in Sao Joao, or Oliveira de Azemeis, pass Malaposta the next day and then make one more stop before heading into Porto.  I chow down and am on my way by 7:45 am.

IMG_2843
Douro River, Porto

I get to Vila Nova de Gaia, which is separated from Porto by the Douro River, at around 2 pm and stop for lunch at an extremely busy cafe.  It is on a wide street with cars running on the sides and Metro going down the middle.  It has broad sidewalks, jampacked with people.  We are not in Kansas any more.  I continue along until I get to the Ponte Dom Luis I.  The above shot is take from the bridge.  Porto is on the right and Vila Nova on the left.  The following shot is the side, with Porto on the left and Vila Nova on the right.  

IMG_2915
Ponten Dom Luis I, Porto

The bridge is double decker with only pedestrians and trams on the upper deck and car/buses on the bottom.  It was packed with tourists.  People stepping in front of the trams or standing on tracks and not getting out of the way in order to take the perfect picture.

I had not made hotel reservations.  I figured Porto was a large city and it wasn’t the weekend.  WRONG!  Once I got to the other side, I pulled up nearby hotels on Google Maps, Booking.com and Expedia and none of them show any vacancy.  I go to a few, hoping that perhaps the websites don’t have the most current information.  WRONG!!!  I finally stop at Pensao Cristal and the’ve just had a cancellation.  I take it but checking on the following night; the weekend is full and the likelihood of anything coming open is slim to none.

Pensao Cristal is a quaint little multi-floor hostel.  All the rooms are tiny and private but shared bathrooms, down the hall for €41.  It’s clean and modern.  But the rooms are tiny, even by European standards.  I take a shower, get some cash, do laundry and stock up at he pharmacy.  In addition to the tuberculosis level coughing and gimpy knee, my back has been killing me also and the Aleve I had brought with me doesn’t seem to be doing any good.  The Pharmacist recommends something called Voltaren and after about two days it seems to help.

IMG_2845
Cafe Across the Street from Pensao Cristal

I have dinner at a hipster cafe across the street from the hostel and call it a day.  As for the title – No Port in Porto.  I was in Porto for two days and never had any.  Sad!

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