Porto, Portugal is a smaller city, formerly a fishing village, on the Atlantic Ocean. This is the first time the Amsterdam has visited this port and from all reports it will be the first of many return trips. The port has been redesigned for cruise ships and the terminal is one of the best we have seen.
From the ocean promenade with another wonderful beach to the city centre and the historic river which runs through the core, Porto is a city to be discovered. While here we toured by bus, did a river cruise from the centre of the city out to the ocean and ended the tour with a trip to a winery where we were able to sample some very special port wine.
Our tour boat was a replica of the river boats used to transport port wine from the vineyards to the north, southbound for distillation, storage and bottling in Porto. Because of the importance of the river and the need to keep it open for commerce there are now six major bridges crossing the river including one designed by Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame. The replica boats come complete with stacked wine barrels, signifying their earlier cargo. It is interesting to note that all over the world port wine can only be wine from Portugal. The United States does not abide by this ruling…..
Cod is the dish of choice here in Porto. For many years the fishermen annually travelled to the cold waters of Norway to fish for cod. While they no longer make the trek, cod is imported. We were told that the Portuguese have 365 ways to cook cod. Fishermen here do not fish on Saturdays or Sundays so you do not go to a fish restaurant on Mondays. All the good fish restaurants near the docks have the fresh fish out in front of their restaurants in trays of ice in order for you to choose what you want to eat. As has been the case in many ports we did not have enough time to sample the local fishery. The downtown core has many historic buildings, very narrow streets and most of them heading up hill. While life on the river Douro continues, most of the buildings along the shore are being converted into beautiful bars, restaurants and high end apartments.
Unrelated, wanted to point out the location of our cabin on the ship. We are located on the starboard side, forward. Our cabin is the one with the window just below the bow (front) of the first lifeboat. We are lifeboat number 1 and as you can see we have a door two rooms from ours to get to the lifeboat. The cabin location gets us anywhere very quickly and we have direct access to the deck which totally encircles the ship. Three and a half laps to the mile is a sign on the wall just outside our cabin.