Some people led extraordinary lives
Our 'King-soldier', Pedro IV, the 'Liberator', was born in Portugal 223 years ago, in 1798. When he turned 24 he was proclaimed the first emperor of Brazil, 'Pedro I', to which he had recently given independence from Portugal. That day was also a 12th of October, of 1822.
Over the course of Pedro's short life (34years) he abdicated the throne twice, was father to 19 children and fought many battles for freedom, in two different continents. Pedro's heart, the actual organ, is still 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...!
Est. reading time: 6 minutes
Adriano Telles left his small village in the north of Portugal, Alvarenga, at the age of 12. Destination: Brazil. At the age of 44, he was back and opened his first coffeehouse and coffee import business in Porto. His success, back in 1903, was due mainly to his smart marketing techniques, even though his product was not as popular as it is nowadays!
Can these marketing lessons from the past possibly be of any use for the future success of a small running tour outfit, such as Porto Running Tours?
Est. reading time: 8 minutes
So, here we are: November 2020, cold days and rain in most of the northern hemisphere... And a pandemic... While some of us seek comfort in a cup of tea while watching the news on TV about these turbulent times, others turn to their wine stock and serve themselves a glass of Port (no judgement here, I honestly consider it to be a sign of good taste!!) ...
After all, are these two 'comfort drinks' all that different?
With Porto and the Douro valley as a backdrop, let's set out in search of points of intersection between Port and tea, they do have a few things in common!
...who banned Coca-Cola from being sold in Portugal in the 1920's?
Est.reading time: 10 min
If I was to name one person that perfectly epitomizes to spirit of the fight against pandemics in Portugal, I would not hesitate: Porto-born Ricardo Jorge.
Yet, regardless of his decisive contributions to public health in the country, some of the Portuguese know him for a quirkier story of a long lasting ban of the most recognizable of sparkling drinks...
âLet's put the gear in reverse and scroll down the timeline to learn a bit more about this remarkable man's failures and successes!
Est. reading time: 8min
"Long live the King! DEATH TO THE COMPANY!!"
February 23rd, 1757: Leading the crowd that morning 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...! (...)
Though this might have been a rather gloomy introduction, take it as an invitation to learn more about about the oldest Portuguese wine company and its recently opened restaurant, cigar club & wine tasting room and an interactive museum, '1756 - Museu da 1ª Demarcação'. We visited it: this post includes photos & two short videos!
...Portugal's first filmmaker was a florist in Porto?
est. reading time: 6 min
In this post we unveil the story of how Aurélio da Paz dos Reis, a successful merchant and flower producer, decided to start his 'adventure' in the world of 'animated photography' back in 1896 here in Porto... and also how he failed to do business with the Lumiére brothers...!
Porto was the setting for Portugal's first ever F1 Grand Prix!
The urban circuit of Boavista hosted only 2 editions of the most prominent of all car competitions, in 1958 and 1960. Stirling Moss, the 'best driver of the world' who never won a F1 world title for himself, flew home from Porto with the first Portuguese F1 trophy, in '58.
STCP Tramcar Museum - here's a sneak peek
The calls to fight climate change are now growing louder around the world and electric mobility has indisputably come into vogue but the silent and charming zero-emission tramcars are actually running on tracks here in Porto for more than a century now...!
Let's head down memory tracks and unveil some of the past, see how people used to move around the urban area of Porto - when run-commuting wasn't yet that popular - is it popular now??! Jump in and grab on for a glimpse of the STCP tramcar museum & depot, once the not-so-green coal power plant that powered the entire tramways' network... (!)
Starting with Pedro IV's heart: Porto's most precious treasure
Here's a compilation of stories, some of which were brought round by visitors, about one peculiar topic: hearts that were separated & taken away from the rest of their owner's body to a fairly distant burial place or even to be scientifically studied. Today PORTO RUNNING TOURS is celebrating 4 years of operation and so, because one of our best-sellers from day one has been the HEART OF PORTO TOUR, let's start with a shorter version of the amazing story about our dear Pedro IV's heart, our city's most precious treasure, a true story we always share with running visitors...!
A symbol of progress
'PROGREDIOR' was deliberately written over the front doors of the first grand Exhibition hall of Porto, the 'PALÁCIO DE CRISTAL' - the word 'progredior' means 'progress' in Latin and it was deeply symbolic. In the mid 1800s, Portugal, and in particular the city of Porto, were trying hard to catch up with Europe and US's industrial revolution and, at the same time, going through a period of intense... romanticism!
The merchants and industrials of Porto were bohemian, wealthy and seeking class and personal affirmation. A small group of Industrials - an association called AIP - decided it was time for Porto to have a grand exhibition hall, one that could host trade shows, large scale festivals, huge banquets, a space worthy of the the rising bourgeoisie of Porto... all of this surrounded by these 'staged' romantic gardens filled with exotic trees and wandering peacocks, fake ruins, fountains and small lakes, classical looking statues: a dignified space for poets and artists looking for inspiration or for those merely looking for romance, during those long lazy Sunday walks... wearing their best Sunday outfits...!
Walking up the arch of the Arrábida bridge ✔️
This wan an item on the list for a long, long time...! It took me 3 years, many excited reports of visiting runners who had done it and one kind invitation to make up my mind and do it. All I can say I am really glad I did it!
Read on for some (fun) facts about the construction of this bridge and its project's designer, Edgar Cardoso, an inventive engineer way ahead of his time...! Bonus: a short video of the experience, the highest point of my week :)
Est.reading time: 7 min
Why was there never a royal palace in Porto?
This blog post provides you a virtual guided tour to the interiors of Palacio da Bolsa, which was never royal, despite its majestic appearance. In fact, this is somewhat odd for a second largest city of a country that was a monarchy for almost 8 centuries: there was never a royal palace built in Porto, by any of the Portuguese kings of any dynasty (...)
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...
Because Dragons are indeed the symbol of the city of Porto, this blog post has the clear purpose of setting things straight, once and for all :)
Est.reading time: 5 min
Unlikely old stories
Read on to learn more about Porto's relationship with the friendliest and most generous of white-bearded-red-suited old chaps - and find out more about Santa's origins!
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.(...)
Sérgio é o fundador da Porto Running Tours, corre regularmente desde 1999 e desde 2015 que guia visitas em corrida na Invicta enquanto revela algumas das suas mais fascinantes histórias.
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