Start of Gate 1 Portugal Trip in Porto

Mon, 16 May 2016 ~ Porto, Portugal

Living room of our Airbnb apartment

Living room of our Airbnb apartment

We have enjoyed four days of R&R in a small apartment that we rented through Airbnb. This allowed us a chance to get caught up on some rest, sort through hundreds of photos, write like crazy to bring our blog posts current, wash several loads of laundry, repack and simply enjoy walking the beautiful city of Porto with no particular agenda.

Happy hour with a welcome glass of rose provided by our host

Happy hour with a welcome glass of rose provided by our host

The apartment has been a blessing. Sometimes it is really nice to have a little more space, and a kitchen where you can fix breakfast, a snack or a simple meal. We quickly got to know our neighborhood, located a pharmacy, grocery store, several bakeries, some good restaurants, learned a bit about the local metro, and tried to memorize a couple of words of Portuguese. I hope this link will work properly as I would love to recommend this apartment to anyone coming to Porto.

  1. The location of the apartment is superb! Easy walking distance to many of the highlights of Porto.
  2. In the same building is THE BEST tapas bar, Rua Tapas & Music Bar, that we have ever eaten at! It is currently rated #18 out of 1216 restaurants in Porto! Many of you know that Tim often has a challenge finding meals without any artificial ingredients. Well, we can vouch for the fact that everything we had was fresh and oh so delicious. One of the owners, Pedro, personally selected three items for us, and I can rate each of them a 10 out of 10.

I will make mention that if you are sensitive to street noises, the apartment may not be the ideal place for you as the street is hopping and lively until the wee hours of the morning. We don’t mind that however as it just adds to the atmosphere for us.

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Our street during the daytime - quiet and empty

Our street during the daytime – quiet and empty

This is the night scene right outside our window...

This is the night scene right outside our window…

And literally right around the corner from the apartment is this major walking and shopping street:

Major walking street

Major walking street

But now it is time to meet up with our next tour group, so we left our sweet apartment to transfer to the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Another first for us today was taking Uber! Tim signed us up before we left home. It evidently takes a few minutes to connect everything, but once set up, it was quite easy to use. The fare is predetermined, so no worrying about a meter or being taken advantage of. I love that!

The fare was much less than a taxi would have been, the car we rode in was spotless, the young man was dressed in a clean white shirt and slacks and payment can be billed either to your credit card (whichever one you sign up with) or can come directly out of your Paypal account. No money needed to change hands.

In case you too have not used Uber, and are wanting to give them a try, you can use this code: timj832 to receive a FREE ride for a value up to $20. Try it!

Full disclosure: We will get a free ride as well, so I will thank you in advance 🙂

Up next – 10 Day Classic Portugal tour with Gate 1

Map showing our route through Portugal with our Gate 1 tour

Map showing our route through Portugal with our Gate 1 tour

The advertised highlights on this land tour include:

  • Visit the Stock Exchange, renowned for its exquisite façade and ornate gilded Arabian Hall in Porto
  • Enjoy a Port Wine Tasting in Porto
  • View the Coimbra University Library, a National Monument in Coimbra
  • Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima one of the most important Catholic shrines in the world
  • Tour the Convent of Christ in Tomar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Stop and view the unique Ossuary Chapel in Evora
  • Visit the Jeronimos Monastery built in the late Gothic Manueline style in Lisbon
  • Enter the Church and Monastery of Santa Maria, the first Gothic buildings in Portugal in Allocable

And our new accommodations in Porto at the Crown Plaza Hotel:

Crown Plaza

Crown Plaza

Overnight: Lisbon – Crown Plaza Porto

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the time we had here in the apartment to once again get our bearings. We have found it immensely important to schedule in down time between the sometimes hectic pace of organized tours. As much as we appreciate all that gets squeezed into each program, maximizing the best use of our time, somedays it feels GREAT to simply just “be”.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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11 Responses to Start of Gate 1 Portugal Trip in Porto

  1. Tim, Joanne, having just returned from Porto (and Portugal) a few weeks ago I highly recommend the best meal we had in Portugal at Tapabento http://www.tapabento.com/EN/contactos which you can read about towards the bottom of my my blog entry here: https://sabbatikos.net/2016/04/28/perfect-day-in-porto/ . I also recommend the toasts for a late breakfast or lunch at Mercearia das Flores http://www.merceariadasflores.com . You can see pictures here: https://sabbatikos.net/2016/04/24/portugese-doors-and-hand-knockers/ and lastly, if you want a preview of the Chapel of Bones in Evora see https://sabbatikos.net/2016/04/19/evoras-chapel-of-bones/ . If you are lucky they’ll have the mummies back from restoration and hanging again from the ceiling. Unfortunately, they weren’t there when we were. Enjoy your travels! It sounds like a great itinerary.

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    • Marc, I am so sad that I received your comment with recommendations at the end of our last day here in Porto. We were out touring all day today and then had a light dinner at a local restaurant. It sounds like we missed a couple good options.

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  2. We’re heading that general direction in September, so I especially appreciate this wonderful introduction!

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  3. John Love says:

    As I have stated before you guys are my favorite travelers and world explorers. The only detraction for me is jealousy that I am not in a position to do what you are doing. I have travelled a bit in my younger years, but thanks to me thinking I knew it all and the Dot.com craze, well lets just say I live comfortable but simpler than I used to, and world tours are out. So I have become an avid follower of your adventures written and photographed so well. So know that you fill a niche for some of us that cannot be filled without you, thank you very, very, much for allowing us to travel along with you! I send this more for my benefit than yours, I want you to feel appreciated so you will continue to create my favorite blog!

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  4. Maha Valerie Christensen says:

    Nice to be able to travel “first class.” I’ve never done it that way…that it’s okay, I’m sure it has been just as memorable, just more rustic lol. Never done tours either, but I see the value of them for you. I recall having been to the amazing spots you’ll go on your Porto tour. Be sure to cart some exquisite port home with you! And if you enjoy jazz, I recall hearing great jazz in Lisbon. Here’s a link, just in case: http://www.lisboa-live.com/en/music/jazz-in-lisbon.html

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    • Dear Maha, thank you for your insights. Guided tours are not for everyone, and I would not want a steady diet of them. I do however really appreciate that they can organize the highlights for you, get you there and on to the next site, and do it all (usually) fairly seamlessly. Tim has certainly taken a liking to Port and I will guess that a bottle may be in our future. 🙂

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  5. My husband and I will be traveling soon and using Airbnb almost exclusively. Since this will be our first time, I really appreciate hearing about the positive experiences most people seem to have. I will definitely keep the link to where you stayed since I would love to visit Portugal one of these days. I don’t have a lot of experience with Uber, but I understand they now encourage/accept tipping. One of the big attractions was not to have to bother figuring all of that out so I was pretty disappointed to read that. Happy travels!

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  6. ardysez says:

    Very informative post, thank you. I’m glad you wrote about scheduling some ‘down’ time into your trip. I have to work on my husband to do that with every trip. I need more recuperative time than he does 🙂 Enjoy your time, looking forward to ensuing posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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