Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Europe Trip Notes # 3

Our next day of Porto touring had to be carefully planned due to the places we wanted to see were located apart from each other and in different hilly areas. To start, a cab took us to one of the highest points of interest - a small church (Ingreja Sto. Lidefonso) with a facade made with beautiful tiles. (We figured that it would be easier to walk downhill to a site than uphill).

A Small Gem

Next stop was to wander through a non-touristy neighborhood to look for a store that sold hair-gel. (The French airport security confiscated Jerry's hair gel). The big decision was to try and figure out which large tube of gel should be purchased - the $2.00 variety or $5.00 brand. With limited English, the sales clerk told us that it was all about "the label," not the quality. Jerry bought the $2.00 tube. He'll know right away whether or not it will work.

Following our "Gel purchase," we wandered down a main street and poked our heads into bakeries and watched people having a light breakfast. 

Our Favorite Egg White - So Light and Airy

After the "bakery run," it was a lot of fun to walk the streets, nod "Hello" to the locals and to get a feel of how "the normal people" live.

Mostly walking down hill, we came across a small fortress which appeared to be part of the cathedral.


While inside, we happened to see either a christening or baby naming.

View From Cathedral

Next was a quick walk onto Gustave Effile's bridge for a panorama perspective of the river below.

A Little Windy - Can't Wait For The Hair Gel!

Minutes away and a slight up-hill walk is Porta's train station known for it's interior - an amazing array of historical and religious pictures depicted on porcelain tiles.

Porta has interesting artwork throughout the town

Too far to walk and too many hills to navigate, we cabbed it to Kadoorie-Mekor Haim Synagogue. Until recently, there were only 50 known Jews left in the town. With the recent anti-semantic issues in France and other countries coupled with a 2013 law passed in Portugal inviting Jews to return to this country, many hundreds flocked to Porto (site of several religious conferences) seeking citizenship and/or (perhaps) even more than several hundred Jewish "visitors" arrived with a plan to remain in the area.

We wanted to go inside the synagogue. Unfortunately, a security guard was insisting that the place was closed because it was Saturday even though the Rabbi was standing on the roof's balcony. We did not want to push it so, "Thank you, Google!"

 Back in the cab, we headed off to Livraria Lello, a local book store and who some say is the world's most famous bookstore due to its architecture and interior decoration.

This place is so famous that tourists have to get a ticket and stand in line for an hour or so - just to take a look at the place. Not for us. Google pictures work fine - and, with little effort on our part!

Back to the hotel area we went for a walk along the river bank. We ended up at a small wine bar (that also served beer, a variety of different types of olives and a special type of bean.

In order to eat the bean (cured in a light brine liquid) , it is placed between the front teeth. Then, after a slight bite down motion, a sheath is detached from the actual bean inside the cover. (The restaurant owner had to teach us how to eat the bean). The bean was quite good and fun to eat. Also, Sagres beer is one of the best - ever!

 After the beans and beer, it was time for a little creativity.

Jerry Is Drawing a Picture With Watercolor Pencils.

With drawing finished,  we found ourselves back at a small cafe that serves a delicious desert. They call their concoction, "Molotov" - not the bomb but baked egg-whites- not meringues - dripping in honey, a sugary syrup  and their secret ingredient. My-oh-my-oh-my...

Sharing  a piece of our favorite dessert...again!

The cafe's name is, "Casa Lopes," we have spoken to each family owner member in hopes that they were a relative to Cecile (our daughter-in-law) or they might know of her relatives. They did not know her relatives. However, buying things at their store so often (not just sweets but also water), making friends and simply saying "Hi," we were gifted with a small bottle of local wine. A real nice touch!

Everywhere we have gone so far in this trip, we have met some really nice locals that have made this trip (even at its beginning) - special!

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