HAL 2019 World – Day 90 Porto, Portugal

April 24, 2019 Paul Groves

After a hectic couple of days in Cádiz and Lisbon, it was nice to have a short excursion today in the city of Porto, Portugal.  It’s a beautiful old fashioned looking city lying on the Rio Douro.   It was the maiden visit of the Amsterdam to this port.

Port wine (named after this city) is made in the nearby countryside and shipped to Porto for aging in warehouses along the river. 

Contrary to the look of the city the cruise ship terminal where we docked was very modern.  The building was designed to look like an orange being peeled.  The interior was very spacious.  I believe that it’s the best looking terminal we’ve seen on our trip.

Our excursion today was entitled “Fado and Tapas”.

We boarded the bus and headed to the Herança Magna theater.

Along the way we saw this monument of women which is a tribute to the victims of a terrible shipwreck and their families.  The event took place in December 1947.  On that day four trawlers sank killing 152 fishermen.  A very touching memorial.

At the theater we were greeted by our host and shown to our tables.  On the tables were a plate of olives and a glass of Port wine.  Shortly afterwards two classical guitarists entered the room and played some very beautiful music. 

After a couple of songs the waiters arrived with the tapas plates.  They served us sardines, manchego cheese, ham, codfish fritters, balls of codfish, garbanzo bean salad, Portuguese sausage, and more olives, along with a red and white wine. 

Midway through the food and wine, the guitarists and singers began their performance of Fado.  Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia.  However it does not sound as mournful as the definition makes out.  The singers, Fernanda Moreira and Pedro Ferreira, had great voices and we really enjoyed them.

Sadly after a few more songs we had to leave and go back to the ship.  It was a wonderful afternoon.

One thing we noticed about Portugal is their use of tiles on their buildings and homes.  These are just a few of the patterns that we saw.