Porto, Portugal

Porto

Ben and I were in Porto for 2 days, but I really felt that we could have just been in Porto for 1 day. Porto is more of a walking city, you walk around all day, and you’ll be able to see everything that needs to be seen. We were quite bored on the second day, and it didn’t help that it was very gloomy and wet.

Sights/attractions:

Livraria Lello – the bookshop that inspired Harry Potter! This bookshop has now become a major tourist attraction, there were hundreds of people lining up, and now they make you pay €5pp just to get in! Pretty crazy. The bookshop had a really amazing staircase in the middle, I can definitely see how this place would have inspired JK Rowling. I wanted to buy a HP book, but unfortunately none of them were in English 😦

Torre Dos Clerigos (€5pp) – walked up the tower for amazing 360 degree views of the city.

Sao Bento Train station to see the amazing azulejo tile work.

Palacio de Bolsa – this was the old stock exchange, it is now a Commercial Palace, not a Royal Palace. It was such a beautiful building! From the granite carved staircase to the Moroccan/Alhambra inspired ballroom – amazing! €9 pp guided tours only

Walked across the Dom Luis I bridge, amazing views of the river. We headed down into Vila Gaia where all the Port houses are, but we had had enough of Port wine.

We had planned to walk to Foz do Douro, which was the Douro river mouth, but the rain was being pretty irritating. Luckily we were passing by this amazing chocolate store, so we popped in there to try their chocolate and port wine tasting plate (€15)! We met a lovely group of British sisters and their babies (one baby was 11 weeks old!), they were so funny! Ended up buying €32 of chocolate. Oh and we were schnozzled.

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Food recommendations:

Mercado do Bolhao – lunch (€16) – the seafood was so fresh, and cooked perfectly!

“VOLTARIA” – Petisqueira Portuguesa – €21.70 – what amazing tapas! We tried their Franceshina, which is a sandwich that looks like a heart attack – it has steak, bacon, chorizo, and mozzarella inside, mozarella on the outside, and then covered with this amazing sauce!

Esquina do Avessos – €87 –  we decided to have a very expensive dinner to celebrate the end of our trip – although that’s not really something to celebrate! Who WANTS to go back to work? Actually Ben does, but he’s not normal. Dinner was amazing! Couvert – bread, goats butter (was really nice!), homemade hummus. Dish 1 – duck (beautifully cooked and sliced), pickled beetroot, goats cheese ice cream, with chocolate wafers – was such an earthy dish, very exciting. Dish 2 – white fish (cooked perfectly), with seafood bisque foam, peppery crab, and celeriac slices – tasted like the ocean! It was really delicious and so beautifully prepared. Dish 3 – 24 day aged sirloin steak with Spanish potatoes (basically fondant potatoes with a red pepper filling), a small mushroom and jammy onion – the sauce was so meaty and full of delicious roast pan goodness! Dish 4 – truffle gnocchi, selection of mushrooms with a soft boiled egg, parmesan cheese – very exciting dish, you break the egg over and mix it all in. I felt like there might have been a miso flavour in the sauce (not sure), the gnocchi was light and pillowy and the mushrooms were divine! Dish 5 – their famous prawns – wrapped in vermicelli noodles, then deep fried, with wasabi mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce – I was in prawn heaven! Dessert 1 – green apple jelly, green apple sorbet, tonka bean and white chocolate ganache, green apple batons, green apple meringue wafers. Dessert 2 – pineapple salsa, coconut and pineapple parfait in a dark chocolate sphere, Chinese five spice ice cream. Drinks: lemonade, and pineapple, coconut and mint (was amazing!)

Barcelona

Food recommendations:

2 de Vins – another amazing lunch near the airport this time! Ben and I stayed our last night in a hotel near the airport, as we had an early morning flight back to Sydney. We had crab salad pintxos, prawn and scallop ceviche (was so lime-y and delicious!), tuna belly with sugar snap peas and broad beans, crab and fish ravioli with plankton foam, tomato bread, orange cheesecake with date purée – €60.20

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