"LONG LIVE THE KING! LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE! DEATH TO THE COMPANY!!"
"Long live the King! Long live the People! Death to the Company!!" : these were the words repeatedly shouted throughout Porto's streets in the morning of February 23rd, 1757. The tone was set for a violent revolt against the managers of a recently born company, the 'Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Douro', which we nowadays know as Real Companhia Velha.
Leading the crowd were many tavern keepers followed by some coopers, wine merchants but mostly were... tavern regulars! This blog post contains a short overview on one of the most humiliating episodes of the city's History, where 26 of the involved people were hung, beheaded and quartered and their bodies displayed in several locations within the city...!
This topic is also the theme for our first free event of 2019, an open group running tour, with 2 separate editions, EN & PT languages, this February:
Read on for an overview of this turbulent episode and for a glimpse of the newest interactive museum you can visit during your stay in Porto.
EVERYbody LOVES A GOOD FRIDGE MAGNET
From a few visits to souvenir shops in the city I realized that dragon-shaped fridge magnets and souvenirs are much harder to find than the sardine or rooster-shaped ones... so, let me tell you: that's deeply upsetting...! :) It reminds me of the over-abundant Russian matryoshka dolls sold in every souvenir shop I've entered while visiting Czech Republic's capital, Praga... Dragons are indeed the symbol of the city of Porto and this blog post is meant to set things straight, once and for all :)
UNLIKELY OLD stories
Despite the clickbait up on that title, these may not be entirely fake news : read on to recall Santa Claus' origins and learn more about Porto's relationship with the friendliest and most generous of white-bearded-red-suited old chaps!
A RIVER AND ITS BOAT
The Douro river has always been part of the soul of the city of Porto and worked as a transport conduit for an entire region, upstream. Instrumental in moving goods and people up and down the river were the rabelo boats, a type of cargo boat unique to this river.
Port, ONE of Europe's great classic wines
Produced on the steep hillside vineyards of the upper Douro valley, this wine originates from one of worlds oldest and most beautiful wine regions where vines have been grown for over 2000 years...!
Some people led extraordinary lives
Our 'King-soldier', Pedro the 'Liberator' , was born in Portugal 220 years ago, in1798. When he turned 24 he was proclaimed the first emperor of Brazil, to which he had recently given independence from Portugal. That day was also 12th October, of 1822.
Over the course of Pedro's short life he abdicated the throne twice, was father to 19 children and fought many battles for freedom, in two different continents. Pedro's heart is nowadays the most amazing treasure the city of Porto has in its care.
In this post I share a couple more of utterly unbelievable -real- stories about him...!
TAKING IT INto YOUR OWN HANDS?
Self-planning a honeymoon can seem like a daunting task...! In this piece by Samantha Lefave, you'll find a few suggested destinations that will surely end up being great fun, if you're in to street art!
Here's what she has to say about Portugal: "Lisbon is getting a lot of tourist attention right now, but those looking for a more local experience should book a ticket to Porto instead. The second-largest city is on the rise, becoming well-known for its street art (...)"
WE KEPT IT SHORT
The following list is not about gourmet experiences. It is not about a search for the best food or the most authentic, nor about the cheapest prices or the most expensive meals. It's really not. There's also no partnership with us or commissions from their side. This is simply a list of places I enjoy having a meal in the company of friends or family. And these are the places I return to because, for some reason, I happen to like them :)
2018's MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANTS IN PORTO
If you are looking for a stylish dinner or if you're in the need to impress your running partner, than you may want to skip Porto's traditional 'francesinha in a beer-house' and make a reservation at a more exclusive place, like the ones on this list.
We run right past the front entrance of most of them in Porto on our running tours and that may help you decide which one fits you the best, based on its location and some of the information we provide!
Read on for our 2018's short list of restaurants for a Michelin-starred meal in Porto:
Porto's Coliseu hosts the Climate Change Leadership summit (link) this Friday with a luxury group of speakers, including two Nobel peace prize laureates: Barack Obama and Mohan Munasinghe!
Obama and Bo, his Portuguese water dog, running through the White house's hallways.
JUST DO IT!
Global Running Day is the day for people around the globe to celebrate the joys of running. Participation is simple —just take part in some kind of running activity during June 6th. It can be a solo run around the house, a long run with friends or even a pushing your child's stroller along your favorite ocean front section. The key is to share your passion for the sport and inspire others to get moving.
Here at PORTO RUNNING TOURS we're offering a 20% discount on all tours in June if booked during Global Running Day (Just insert the code GRT2018_20OFF in the booking form!)
Happy celebrations! Keep running strong!
A DASH OF IRONY
Guess what… a new Starbucks franchisee cafe just opened in Porto… yay.. (not...!)
You know, we've all done things in the past that we’re not proud of. Mine include entering Starbucks a few years back in Madrid on a desperate quest for free wi-fi or going for a BigMAc burguer in Vienna. Oh and… those chicken wings at a KFC in London… shame on me…!! Yes, I have been a lazy tourist, I must admit. Against all guidelines of sustainable tourism, I have 'sinned'. Not proud of it though..!!
IS IT THE PASTRY?
I’m pretty sure you won’t need more than the friendly attitude of local people or a glass of full-bodied red wine from the Douro valley to really feel like at home in Porto. But still, if you’re looking for a common element, something familiar, one that you can find in other parts of the world, then you may want to read this post through to the end. Spoiler: it's not the croissants!
I had never even set one foot inside that building...! (honest confession)
Fact is, unlike many cities around the world, Porto does not have daily or weekly tours of the city hall. There are, however, arranged visits on special occasions and one monthly opportunity, if you book in advance (see bottom of this post).
So, this was THE gap on my 'rap sheet', considering I am a tour guide in Porto and slightly 'hooked on' History...!
NOT ONE but THREE DIFFERENT BUILDINGS
Allured by the promise of visiting the tower, (finally!!) I registered for a group tour - not a running tour, unfortunately :). As a bonus, the Architect guiding the tour also lead the group to 3 other locations where local politicians discussed the fate of Porto during the previous centuries. Hence this handful of photos you'll see, some of old demolished buildings and some fresh, from inside and from the top of the present building's central tower. Got 2 minutes?
At the top of Aliados Avenue, the present city Hall is turning 60 this year!
This weekend we welcomed runners from England and Switzerland. My favorite story and one of the many I got to share with them was about how D.Pedro IV's actions during the civil war and the 1832-33's siege of Porto influenced the course of history in Portugal and the city's toponymy.
"Pedro stopped in Azores to assemble an army, composed by mercenaries and exiled liberals. The army then disembarked in a beach near Porto and quickly occupied the city, cheered on by its residents."
This day was the 9th of July, 1832, exactly 185 years ago!
Sérgio is the founder of PRT, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide since 2015.
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