Today got started bright and early with a sightseeing tour of Porto and we all now consider ourselves true tripeiros (Porto residents).
Our tour started by heading to the Atlantic Ocean and then by passing through the medieval lanes of the Old-World Ribeira district and along the picturesque Douro Riverfront. We passed many city icons, such as the Baroque-style Clérigos Tower, the Gothic São Francisco Church known for its lavish baroque interior with ornate gilded carvings (pictured), and the wrought-iron Maria Pia Bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel. We had the opportunity to step inside the city’s famed neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace, built in the 19th-century to impress potential European investors.
After lunch on our own, when some visited the famous Livaria Lello and others climbed Clergios Tower (view pictured) or explored the waterfront, the group visited one of Porto’s most prestigious Port wine cellar; Ferriera. We couldn’t resist tasting the sweet wine paired with cheese!
We learned from our guide that Port is produced only from grapes grown and processed in the Douro region and the wine produced is then fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente, in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine. The wine is then stored and aged in barrels stored in a cellar to keep it at the optimal temperature before being bottled.
Later we floated along the beautiful Doro (pictured), the Iberian Peninsula’s third-longest river and took in scenes of Porto’s vibrant waterfront and historic Villa Nova de Gaia.
Many alumni spent the evening seeking out the best fish in Porto.