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Portugal 2017: Day 2


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.

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We next drove to downtown Granada where we checked into our hotel and had some free time.  Several of us met up with some special guests later while others explored the city on their own and enjoyed some of its finer offerings.

Our special guests were from the University of Granada's GRIIS Program - the one Stonehill has a partnership with for our students to spend a semester.  Amalia and Teresa work for GRIIS and they coordinated a lovely walk down the Avenido de Constitucion with Jessica '14 and Elyse '14 as well as Sara '12 (who has returned to Granada for a year after graduation to get post-graduate work done).  All five of them were welcoming and informative.  We saw some of the university and heard some history of the city, and some current facts as well:  300,000 people live in the city but 100,000 are students!!  This was apparent as the whole city has a college-town feel to it.

Check out more about the program:  GRIIS Program

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Portugal 2017: Day 8