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Late Doors

Porto, Land of Ginger Dogs

Don’t know what’s been going on her but I suspect some kind of sinister canine ethnic cleansing. The odd Black/Ginger hybrid occasionally lurked amongst the car tyres at the pavement edge but otherwise its ginger all the way.

First stop to Mainland Portugal for me. It was a tough decision back in April to set off on World Cup Final day. What if England got there MrsD asked.  What if we meet Jennifer Aniston over there and you agree to a threesome after she wore us down with her persistent pleading and promises of tons of cash I replied. So it was duly booked

After sussing out the Metro into the city with the oyster card equivalent Andante card we were at the Hotel in Central Porto. The room wasn’t ready so we had a pleasant two hours to settle into the groove with some exceptional sardines and cold beer on the side of the River Douro before scaling the mountainous steps back up into centro Porto.

Well I’ve got to report Ladies and gentlemen of Reg Porto won us over gradually and completely. A fabulous city for many reasons. First of all the lovely tourist concentrated river front. I say concentrated but it wasn’t at all and more pertinently hardly any English/American voices at all. Not that I have anything disparaging to say about our colonial cousins, we’ve always found them good company, fun. Polite and respectful on their European Travels.

Porto is on the North bank of the River and is bathed in daytime sun whilst Gaia on the South side hosts all the Port warehouses and is wonderfully illuminated by the afternoon and late setting sun. Famous names like Offleys, Cockburns, Sandeman and Taylors are subtly displayed amongst the terracotta tiled rooftops. The golden hues set off by the sinking sun behind us across the river flanked by old wooden port carrying vessels are a sight we won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

The two towns are connected by a series of bridges. The main one being the magnificent Ponte don luis with its Eifel tower like skeleton. The lower tier carrying cars and the towering upper deck for trams. Pedestrians traversed both though the upper level is a preposterously steep and arduous climb from the river  and the one euro funicular trip is well worth it after a night out.

Prices on the river front weren’t too bad considering the prime location. 0.5l beer about three euros and a red wine about 1.5 Euro. Lunch for two Including drinks was about 20 Euro though all could be had cheaper. In fact we only ate on the front twice, once that first afternoon and again that night for the WC Final. There was a gang of orange clad Dutch in our bar but surprisingly all the locals were supporting Spain. All the rest of our time on the front was spent sipping beer, strolling along the bank and a boat trip

The opposite bank was a mix of the old, traditional and a Thames south bank type modern development. We had a very nice Port house tour in Taylors including free samples and a fabulous meal in a no frills local restaurant where we were lucky to get a seat as it was rammed with locals. Starters, Two huge fish and meat courses PROPER chips, litre of wine, deserts and coffees for a staggeringly cheap 32 euros. We would have happily paid more than double that and have done a few times.

The town center on the other hand was a mix of normal everyday city life of work, commerce, ace architecture, cafes, shops and assorted Euro folk. Incredibly hardly any tourists but they are missing out on a real treat, a brilliant charming, understated and beguiling city. Just as important for the all too careful Northerners abroad was that the food and drink was less than half price of the river fronts and much better.

Another fabulous feature of the city is the impeccable transport system. Trams, buses and the metro, clean, quick, simple to uses and efficient. We had two long trips out on the extremities of the system. One to the beaches on the Atlantic coast and a trip to the contemporary arts museum and gardens. The gardens were a welcoming retreat after a harrowing somber and bleak exhibition of Palestine life along the wall.

The second beach trip followed a walk to the smart suburb of Boavista. Leeds fans will know this place as the club we signed Jimmy Floyd Cashinthebank from and also Bruno Ribeiro. (WTF happened to Bruno?. One season vintage classy Portuguese Port the next a decaying sparkle less dud eroded by the British Winter but I digress). From there it was a 45 minute metro trip to the seaside town of Vila de conde. A peaceful medieval, monastery town with a brilliant old aqueduct running along much of it and an ultra chic euro beach scene including another fabulous BBQ fish restaurant.

Yes Porto gets massive thumbs up. There is so much to like and not one thing left a sour taste. I suppose the first walk to our hotel round the back of the station along a dodgy piss smelling alley littered with uses syringes could have made our initial wariness linger but it didn’t as we didn’t use that alley again and it was the only one of its kind

Other highlights of Porto. The restaurant Antunes where we had a feast of Ham Hock. Another ace little place just off the front along some steps which was rustic and genuinely charming. We had a great hotel including some very unintentionally comical bar staff who have clearly never come across a Northener who insists on paying cash for everything. Honestly, every time I approached they scattered in a petrified panic.

The Café Majestic was a classy Belle Epoque styled café but a bit pricey and a waiter who had clearly seen too many Hugh Grant films and decided that saying he was terribly sorry to us repeatedly got a bit grating. We witnessed some breathtaking displays of casual driving and indiscriminate random parking and last but not least the simple relaxed but assured confidence of the locals who clearly have a great work ethic  but go about their business in a no nonsense efficient easy going calm way. And so on to Lisbon

 Great read that. Are you sure Bruno Ribeiro didn't serve you some sardines whilst you were there?
Late Doors

i was half expecting it

some piccies including some from Lisbon and one im sure you will all agree demostrates how to don the perfect summer outdoor attire including Shorts/T Short shades and sandals


I remember the awesome sight of that Vasco de Gama monument like it was yesterday.
Tank Girl

ooh i'll have to read these later,when i have got more time.  nice one ld
Pond Life

The report is as breathtaking as that picture of that bridge. Thank you LD, i thoroughly enjoyed that.

The whole trip sounds great.

Nice report and nice sandals LD.
Jones the Steamed

Nice one LD.

I was last there in 1984 when 50 odd Wrexham fans went to witness our greatest night of European footie losing 4-3 0n the night but carrying our 1-0 home win through to knock out the European Cup finalists of the year before on away goals.

Flew to Lisbon and made our way to Cascais where we were digging in an ex Wrexhamites apartment, I got supremely pissed, lost my way back along the unlit streets and had to have a shit in some unlucky so and sos garden.  The foliage growing from my arse the next morning was a reminder of my shocking behaviour as I'd used half a privet to wipe myself clean.

Made our way to Porto by train, what sticks in my mind is crossing that bridge in your pic, the Super Bock was back in full flow and don't remember getting to Povoa De Varzim where we'd sorted an hotel.  Varzim was dead, nobody about until about 3 hours after us hitting the deserted bars a mob of about 30 to 40 locals started following us.

No words were exchanged, the 3 of us were feeling a tad nervous until we chanced on a bar owned by a Brit who casually told us that they were merely curious of us 3 loaded northern Europeans.  Transpired he was right, no grief just a bunch of locals watching us splash £4 on a steak, chips and bottle of wine.

Then, the main event.  Porto were 3-0 up within 40 minutes, Wrexham were dead and buried until a glimmer of hope shone through the rain heavy clouds drenching everyone there as we pulled it back to 3-2.

History tells the story, couldn't have written a better ending after Porto taking the tie to 4-3, Barry Horne lurched in to the penalty area to toe poke the ball over a forlorn Peter Borota.

The storm that soaked us that night couldn't dampen our spirits, 50 odd hardy Wrexham souls were delirious in delight bouncing up and down the terraces amongst distraught Porto fans who took the beating alarmingly well.

All the electric supply went down shortly after the game, made our way back to our hotel to be greeted by the hotel owner, being a Benfica fan he gave us a couple of candles and a gratis bottle of champagne that we necked by candlelight in our bedroom.

Fucking ace times.

Barry Hoooorrrrrnnnnne

Fully agree with Pondy on this one, the bridge is beautiful. If you took the pic LD, well done.


I must say it looks a very Scottish bridge.

Stunning piece of engineering, I'm going to have to read up on it's history.

It's resemblance to the tour eiffel is no coincidence as the designer had worked in partnership with Eiffel on another bridge.
Late Doors

 nice one right back at ya Jonesey, that had me chortling.

Course i took the piccy sheeps. ive got about 150 of the bleeders. The bridge is awesome and would you believe some kids were diving off the bottom of it come evening  time, madness.
Late Doors

Unaccustomed as I am to taking pictures of near naked boys on holiday or anywhere for that matter Mr Bearing persuaded me to put these pics up of these fearless blighters  jumping of the bridge.

The third one I was going to ask a specialist Huddersfield Magazine if they wanted to buy it but consider it my gift to t’b


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