Porto Ribeiro

July 28, 2013

On the second day of our visit to Porto, we walked down from the top of the hill through a maze of steep paved streets leading to the  Ribeiro district.

7.30 am in Ribeiro, one of the oldest and liveliest parts of Porto. The Douro river flows slowly in the misty morning. The city looks still sleepy and the air is pleasantly  cool.  It will get very hot later on as we will visit this lovely area that is sometimes called  the true soul of Porto.

Porto, Ribeiro, boats

Tall, narrow houses line the side of the river. The day had brightened up and the wave of heat around midday was almost palpable. A hazy kind of light. Not really the best time for taking pictures but we were hungry and the smell of fried food, roasted sardines, lead us to a restaurant along the quay.

Ribeiro 1

A long and wide promenade  runs along the river. There were few tourists at this time of the year but I can imagine how crowded  this  would look right now. I took this picture  from  a bridge we are going to cross later on. Houses, shops, market stalls and restaurants blend in colorfully. A luminous sight indeed.Ribeiro, jetée

A closer view of the terraces along the Douro river. I had promised myself to take a “food” picture of the dish I ordered : “sardinas asadas”, the absolute must when you visit Portugal. Roasted sardines. When the waiter brought a large plate  where four delicious looking sardines lay side by side on a bed of salads, I forgot all about my promise 😦 The inviting scent,  the cool white fruity and fragrant  wine, the first bite into the sardines’ delicate flesh… and  when I thought about the picture, my plate was empty ! But I can assure you it tasted very good.Ribeiro, terrasses

A few boats were anchored  as we walked towards the bridge crossing the river. This old boat  is one of those Rabelos – ancient barges with a flat bottom –  the type that used to transport barrels of the famous Port  from the Douro Valley to Porto.Ribeiro, barcos rabelos

Dom Luis I Bridge, constructed in 1886 on the lines of Gustave Eiffel’s Dona Maria Pia railroad bridge. Each level has two-way traffic and two sidewalks.  It was fascinating and challenging to walk across the bridge with cars and buses racing by all around. On the other bank of the Douro river lies Vila Nova de Gaia, the  well-known place of wine and wine lodges. Some  of them are open for visitors and wine tasting.Porto, Dom Luis Bridge

The large cool cellars  in the wine lodge we visited  were a real reward after the  walk in the blazing sun. My husband and  I sat happily on one of those long black benches where a large group of Japanese tourists joined us later on. Behind dark glass doors, a lot of wooden barrels were neatly piled up. The golden lights in the ceiling gave the room and the barrels an air of an Ali Baba’s cave. We tasted a glass of two different vintage Port. Exquisite ! Do you believe me if I tell you that after the long walk since early morning, the hot sun and the wine my legs felt kind of tired ?Sandeman's

Never mind. The following day was going to be a relaxing one : a one day cruise on the Douro river, along  vineyards, forests, small villages. We joined about 60 other people on a boat such as the one of the right, the smaller one.Ribeiro, barcadouroAre you ready to follow me for an enjoyable journey ? Then don’t forget your sunglasses, a hat and your favourite sun cream: the day is hot on the deck !


10 Responses to “Porto Ribeiro”

  1. shoreacres said

    You spoke of the early, hazy light not being so good for taking photographs, but your first picture is my favorite. I like the one of the work boat lined with casks, of course. Its lines bear some relationship to the old sailing work boats that were common along the Texas coast a century and more ago, and the oyster boats that still ply the waters of the bays along our Gulf.

    When I hear people talking about sardines, I confess they don’t sound so good to me. But of course, I know only the tiny things that come salted and packed in oil in our grocery stores! I have no doubt that your sardines were far more enjoyable – especially in that setting!

    • Thank you Linda for your visit and comment. This first picture is also my favorite. It is the following ones, taken around midday, that I do not like so much. Too much brightness and lack of depth. I felt almost certain you would appreciate the picture of the rabbles. Portuguese used such barges to transport the casks because the Douro was a wild river . It had to be tamed (dams) so that the journey from the wine production area to Porto became safe.

      Grilled sardines such as I ate there was delightful and a surprise to me too !

  2. Kathy said

    So lovely, Isa. Thank you for sharing this. What a lovely peek into the Douro!

    • Thank you Kathy, I am very pleased you enjoyed this peek into the Douro. More will come about it in my next post. I am a bit too busy at this time but eventually I will manage to write about it.

  3. Isa, the photos are really good. Beautiful travel log. Look foward to more photos of your vacation/holiday.


    • Thanks a lot Yvonne. I hope you will appreciate the next photos I will post as soon as I can. Have a pleasant end of the week. Today, tonight particularly, we are celebrating our National Day.

  4. Sartenada said

    Bonjour Isa.

    Quel merveilleux ensemble de photos!

    Bon week-end!

    • Merci encore Matti. Midi sur le port n’était pas le meilleur moment pour prendre des photos, trop grande luminosité, mais j’ai fait ce que j’ai pu. Je suis contente que cette série t’ait plu. Bientôt, je t’emmène en mini-croisière sur le Douro 🙂

  5. Janice said

    Moi, aussi, j’aime beaucoup la première photo, avec la lumière brumeuse. Et les batiments hauts au bord du fleuve sont très interessants. Maintenant, je voudrais visiter Porto….. 🙂

    • Bonjour Janice et merci de ta visite. Je pense que tu aimerais Porto et le Portugal, en général. Les brodeuses sont nombreuses et talentueuses, les merceries sont bien garnies de fils artisanaux, de laines, de tissus divers et les marchés offrent un grand choix de cet art que nous aimons : couture, broderie et un peu, le patchwork.
      Sans compter toutes les autres curiosités.

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