A wedding in Porto...
We arrived in Porto on Wednesday evening in time to check in to our AirBnB close to the city's fabulous main railway station Sao Bento (check out the tiled interior if you go there) and in time to have a brief walk around the city and have dinner.
The next morning we headed straight for the beautiful waterfront along the River Douro. Bathed in sunlight, the city looked stunning and I always forget how hilly the streets here are. I started a sketch overlooking the Ribeira before we walked over the dramatic Dom Luis bridge to Gaia to the south.
After coffees, beers and some lunch we returned to the Porto side and walked along the coast before I returned to the Ribeira to add colour to may first sketch of the day as the sun began to set.
In the morning we hired bikes to take us to the west coast overlooking the Atlantic. The weather deteriorated ironically as we got close to the wide sandy beaches along the coast itself. I was hoping to visit the stunning Porto Cruise Terminal but when we arrived at Matosinhos we found out it was only open for limited periods to the public.The cycling was fun however and the journey had introduced me to areas around Porto that I had never seen before.
Back in the sunny city centre, we had lunch in the old Mercado Ferreira Borges (a nineteenth century iron and glass landmark building). I as ever managed to find a seat outside with a view to start my first sketch of the day of a character street scene.
Later we met a friend in a cool outdoor bar in Plaza de los Clerigos and after a quick watercolour, we enjoyed watching the sunset in the really vibrant Parque day Virtudes - obviously one of the 'go to' destinations at the end of the working week. The panoramic views of the river valley were amazing and a lovely way to start the weekend.
Up early and getting ready for friends, Raquel and Hugo’s big day. First we drove to Esphinho, a small coastal town south of Porto, to the cute church for the marriage service.
Then the convoys of cars left for the reception around 15km away in Vila Maior. The venue was incredible with a variety of interesting locations that were used throughout the whole day.
It was a truly beautiful day for a special couple and as ever with absolutely wonderful Portuguese hospitality!
My final day and the last opportunity to get to see the stunning contemporary Porto Leixões
Cruise Terminal by architect Luis Pedro Silva. After the thirty minute drive and the purchase of tickets, we joined a guided tour around this iconic building - so much more than simply a cruise terminal, a research and conference venue too. The architecture acknowledges the importance of creating an inspiring arrival point to new visitors to the city - something the Uk could learn from.
With free time before my flight, we spent a delightful couple of our in Parque de Serralves located right in the very heart of Porto across 18 hectares, including gardens, copses, a rose garden and a Romantic lake - an ideal refuge to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.