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..!!
Irony aside now: I totally understand people who go in multinational brand cafes or restaurants while visiting a new city, in search for a familiar meal or quick fix of coffee to fight off those jet lag symptoms. I get it, I really do. But if you payed for an airline ticket to Porto, maybe just landed from an intercontinental flight, you deserve much better. And genuine. For unique local cafes - and a decent espresso or specialty coffee - read on:
Some people led extraordinary lives
Our 'King-soldier', Pedro the 'Liberator' , was born in Portugal 219 years ago. 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. These two dates were not too hard for me to memorize because I was also born on 12th of October, though not in 1798!!
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...!
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!
Sérgio is the founder of PRT, a keen runner since 1999 and a friendly running tour guide since 2015.
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