After a cold night and a frosty start we decided that heading further into the mountains wasn’t a great idea and that we were better to stay in lower grounds, so we headed back to Viano do Castello for the night before heading on to Braga and Bom Jesus.
Bom Jesus is a religious sanctuary positioned at the top of a hill just outside Braga….. to be precise (450m up and about 2.5km out) It was listed as one of the places we could park the motorhome overnight, so we parked up (roughly 100m below Bom Jesus itself), had lunch and walked down into the old town to have a look around.
Braga has a beautiful old town which I am sure seemed even nicer with the blue skies and Christmas buzz, but it is a large town which comes with the cars and traffic, so it was actually quite nice to be parked up slightly away from the noise.
The walk up to the sanctuary was a popular one, probably helped by the fact that it was a Sunday and we were positioned between two religious holidays, so as it coincided with a day when Keith was going for a run as well, we both had a morning run down the hill and then back up again – hard work! After breakfast we ventured up to the Sanctuary to admire the views over the city.
With the cold weather we have been using the heating a little more than we had planned which in turn has meant that we have been sucking LPG more quickly. We had tried a couple of fuel stations en route to Braga, but none had the correct connector for us to fill up, so headed to try out a few more fuel stations with the hope that one would be able to help us. Several fuel stations later and we now realise that we should have bought the eurodish adaptor before we came away, we have been lucky as all the fuel stations in France and Spain have had the necessary adapters. Lesson learnt and as we still have one tank full, we decided that we would be better to head towards Porto to see if we can find a motorhome accessories place to buy one before we run out….. roll on Tuesday and we will see how we get on.
As the 6th and 8th December are national holidays in Portugal we decided to stop en route in Guimares which is referred to as the birthplace of the Portuguese nationality – we can’t comment on that, but it is a lovely city, the old town is beautifully looked after (it is another UNESCO site) and almost as importantly it is known for its cakes…. 🙂
After a meander through the twisty streets and a stop for coffee and cake we headed for a campsite (Parque de Campismo Sol de Vila Cha, 14 euros all inc) – the first in a long time – just north or Porto where we plugged into electricity and had a haircut before catching the metro and heading into Porto on Monday for a look around.
Porto is a ‘rustic’ city, which unlike some of the other large cities we have visited as we have travelled through France and Spain, isn’t quite as refined and doesn’t have the clean edges. The streets are narrow and the houses lean towards each other in a way that makes you think that at some point in the future they will end up supporting each other at the top. Every house is different, not just in the colour of paint, but also its style, number of floors, width …. as though they have been built at different times – but this is just the style. The prime examples being on the river Douro in the center of town.
Being unable to visit Porto without trying some Port we popped over the bridge to the Port houses and invested some time in learning about the different Ports produced by Ferreira, Calem and Kopke. We left Porto on the metro slightly wiser and slightly worse for wear … despite having been given chocolate to go with our Port at Kopke which was new to us….
All in all an interesting day and well worth the visit – although we both agree that from what we have tried, we still prefer Tawny port to white, ruby and rose …. although I am sure that given the correct vintage we could be converted 🙂
We will of course in the future be serving chocolate as well as cheese with our port ….. white chocolate with white port, milk chocolate with Tawny and dark chocolate with rose 🙂