All posts by Roger Prieto

Bread and poultry sausages

Alheira, all you need to know

Alheira is a lightly smoked sausage, traditional from the North of Portugal which is very easy to find in Porto’s restaurants and a very economic option for a quick lunch.

Alheira is a white sausage which is smoked,usually, for three days, and mixing ingredients like wheat bread, garlic, paprika and a mix of white meat including Chicken, turkey, partridge (the most usual) and sometimes veal, rabbit and pork (less common). It’s easy to find them as a common option at lunch time, in Porto’s restaurants, either fried or baked in the oven, and served with white rice, french fries, and a fried egg. Getting it as a Petisco, is also possible, but for this Alheira with game meat should be preferred.

Alheira as you can find in most of Porto's restaurants

Alheira, fries, rice and fried egg, an affordable meal.

Alheira is typical of Trás-os-Montes region, located northeast of Porto and has become very popular throughout the country. Tradition says that originally they were produced only with poultry and paprika,  and also that they were invented by the Jewish conversos in the 15th century to elude the Inquisition. One of the ways that the Inquisitors had to distinguish Jewish from Christian was to check the sausages hanging at the fireplace, and because most of the sausages have pork in it, they would immediately arrest everybody that was missing the sausages. Legend has it that with the invention of Alheira this problem was solved, although it doesn’t seem right because one of the essential ingredients in sausages is pork fat.

Alheiras de mirandela in Favorita do Bolhão

As Alheiras de Mirandela in a Mercearia Fina aka gourmet shop

Alheira has a unique flavour (tastes really good!) and comes in different types, depending on the ingredients used, their origin or the fabrication type. You can find them from Javali (wild boar), Caça (game), which can come from Mirandela, Vinhais or Vila Real. In Porto, it is common to find it in supermarkets, the most common version,  but if you want to get the “home made” version  go to the Mercearias around Mercado do Bolhão and have fun learning a bit more about it.

Where to find it:

A Favorita do Bolhão – Rua Fenandes Tomás 183

A Pérola do Bolhão – Rua Formosa 279

Casa Lourenço – Rua do Bonjardim 417

Comer e Chorar por mais Rua Formosa 300

Casa Chinesa – Rua Sá da Bandeira 343

Palácio de Cristal – Porto C ...

Palácio de Cristal gardens, a nineteen-century creation, is a park in Porto, with fabulous views over Douro River and the perfect place to walk, run, relax, read or even visit an art gallery.

 

The dome of Pavilhão Rosa Mota

The entrance of the park

Palácio de Cristal gets its name from a glass, iron, and granite structure inaugurated in 1865 for Exposição Internacional do PortoPorto’s International Exhibition – a World Fair featuring 3,139 exhibitors from four continents. This structure was designed by Thomas Dillen Jones inspired in James Paxton’s Crystal Palace design, a pavilion created in Hyde Park for the 1851 London’s Great Exhibition. In 1951, on the occasion of  1952’s Roller Hockey World Cup in Porto, Palácio de Cristal was destroyed and replaced by the current building, Pavilhão Rosa Mota.

Palácio de Cristal Porto's Crystal Palace

Engraving depicting Palácio de Cristal

The gardens, designed in English romantic style, from 1864 to 1869, by Émile Davide a German landscape architect,  have a variety of trees and exotic plants spread over eight hectares including lakes, towers, and picturesque walking paths. Upon entering the park, we come across a magnificently landscaped space, with azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons, decorated with a set of fountains with sculptures of mermaids and mermen and the symbolic representation of the Four Seasons around the central square.

Immediately to the right, at the beginning of Avenida das Tílias, a  modern building holds public library Almeida Garret, opened in 2001 as part of Porto European Capital of Culture. Inside there is a reading room with Portuguese and foreign newspapers and  magazines, a cafeteria and the Municipal Art Gallery, always with very interesting exhibits and with free admission.

The inside of the municipal art gallery

Exhibit inside the Municipal Art Gallery

Avenida das Tílias (Linden Avenue) spreads from Almeida Garret library until Capela de Carlos Alberto, a chapel dedicated to the memory of the King of Sardinia and Piemonte, who died in Porto in 1849, after a brief exile that started in a nearby square with his name. This long avenue, decorated with some contemporary sculptures, is the chosen runway for peacocks always happy to “show off” their amazing fans in front of the cameras and the bright eyes of children. While walking there, take a look at the curious Concha Acústica, a stage designed to project the music and where concerts are still held.

Sculptures and the dome at Palácio de Cristal

One aspect of the gardens and the dome.

In recent years, in September, Avenida das Tílias has welcomed Feira do Livro do Porto (Porto’s book fair), which was held in Avenida dos Aliados,  and, somehow, it looks like the oxygen revitalized it by giving more prominence to independent bookstores and small publishers.  The truth is that it is an immense pleasure to do some book hunting between the booths filled with books while having a glimpse of the sunset under Arrábida’s bridge.

Avenida das Tílias in Palácio de Cristal

Avenida das Tílias (Linden Avenue)

Going around the pavilion, from its left side, we can go downwards, surrounded by camellias, towards a series of landscaped terraces with magnificent views of Douro river, Porto, and Vila Nova de Gaia. In the first terrace, there is a rose garden, Roseiral in Portuguese, where we can see some architectural elements, such as doors, windows, and a heraldic crest, that came from Porto’s previous Town Hall building, located a century ago, in Avenida dos Aliados. Close to it, facing the river, there’s a yellow building, Casa do Roseiral, the official residence of the Mayors of Porto. Although nobody lives there, current Mayor Rui Moreira, has recovered it to protocol events and uses it for some official visits.

The beautiful yellow house

Casa do Roseiral

On the West side of Palácio de Cristal, there’s an access to Quinta da Macieirinha, an old eighteenth-century farmhouse where Carlos Alberto spent the last years of his life.  Nowadays it holds Museu Romântico, a space dedicated to the Romantic movement, Porto’s bourgeois nineteenth-century lifestyle and, of course, Carlos Alberto. The house is lovely and can be a good option for a rainy day. On the front gate of this area, there’s another one that will lead you to  Casa Tait, another farmhouse with beautiful gardens and century-old trees.

A garden with geometric shapes and a lake

Rose garden or Roseiral

A good way to end this visit is to follow one of the romantic routes, starting next to Palácio de Cristal, and go down towards Massarelos,through narrow streets and some steps that show us to the rural past of this area. You can always ask our help to integrate this in a Porto Beginners Guide tour.

Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

Rua de D. Manuel II, 4050-346 Porto

Opening times: April to September- 8:00am 9:00pm; October to March- 8:00am to7:00pm

Uncommon Shops that you shouldn ...

Globalization is creating a series of clone cities, one after another, and traditional shops are one of the first targets on this list. However, in Porto , there’s still some excellent examples of authentic and uncommon examples  that you should visit.

During the last 5 years or so, in Porto, a high percentage of traditional, family-held shops closed their doors and left space to new businesses, targeting the growing masses of people that want to know this fabulous City. Critic voices say that Gentrification is a bitch  but, still gentle with Porto and, while researching for this article, we found that one of the intended feature shops, in one week, had already closed on its original location to open, with a facelift, a couple of doors away.

In  Porto, there are still a lot of local businesses that are alive and kicking, adapted to technology and new media with web pages, Instagram, and Facebook (active!) profiles. Next, some of my favorite shops in town.

A three meter crocodile, hanging on the shop's ceiling.

This three-meter crocodile needs a tick-tack inside

In 1948, in Rua Cimo de Vila 67, close to S. Bento Train Station, opened Casa Crocodilo (Crocodile Shop). When you get in and see a huge reptile hanging above your head, you’ll understand why it is named like this. Rua Cimo de Vila and, close by, Rua Chã is traditionally linked with leather, skins and related appliances like wallets, handbags, belts, seats, and shoes, but slowly, very slowly are readapting and rebranding. If you have a damaged belt or want a real leather wallet this is the place to come. Also, very popular, are handmade gloves and the authentic sheepskin slippers from Serra da Estrela, the Portuguese Ugg’s.

Brooms hanging at the door.

Harry Potter’s brooms, Really?

Escovaria de Belomonte was founded in 1927, and it is located close to the end of Rua das Flores on the direction to Jardim das Virtudes. On the right side of Rua de Belomonte, you will find a beautiful Vintage banner announcing the small shop/workshop that produces and sells several kinds of brushes (Escovas in Portuguese) including hair, clothing, shoes and a curious one made with brass wires that are used to polish jewelry. At the entrance, you will be immediately surprised with brooms that were, some might say, an inspiration to J.K. Rowling when creating the Broomsticks like Moontrimmer or Nimbus 2000, on the Harry Potter Series.

They also sell Semogue shaving brushes, produced in northern Portugal,  considered excellent in its kind. The owner is very nice and passionate about his job, and it seems that the business is booming.

Flags from Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Portuguese Monarchy Switzerland and Porto

Do you have your country’s flag? Find it here.

Casa Mousinho, in Rua Mouzinho da Silveira 118, very close to Praça do Infante and Ribeira, started selling fabrics and printed goods in 1961, but soon they realized that their niche was flags, exclusively. They sell them in all sizes and shapes, pillows included, from all the nations and nations without a state, Portuguese cities, mini flags from associations and groups, pennants and banners. If you don’t find what you need they can take care of it and ship it to you later. The owner, one of the founders will help you with that and tell you everything about flags.

The inside of Casa Hortícola

Looks like a Jewelry shop and for some it is

You can find Casa Hortícola, in one of the corners of Mercado do Bolhão, on the outside – Rua Sá da Bandeira 304. It opened in 1921 and they sell all kinds of seeds, bulbs, plants, flowers and gardening products. There we can find seeds of some Portuguese vegetables like Penca de Natal or Couve da Póvoa, a must on Christmas dinner. This cozy, beautiful and small place has the same aspect since it was founded, first as a Sausage shop, and it still sells a lot of seeds to the newest generations of Porto’s citizens.

Luckily, it seems that the traditional shops are secured for one more generation or so.

Moisés vocifera contra os adoradores do Bezerro de Ouro após ter recebido as tábuas da Lei

Palácio da Justiça – Porto

Palácio da Justiça in Porto holds a mystery waiting to be solved. Justice is not blind and there’s a good reason to it.

Palácio da Justiça (Palace of Justice) in Porto, is a monumental building, near to Torre dos Clérigos and Jardim da Cordoaria. It was created by Raúl Rodrigues Lima and inaugurated in 1961, holds Porto’s Appeal Court and it is a kind of modernism informal museum, with sculptures and paintings by Portuguese artists. On this site, before Palácio da Justiça existed the Fish Market, whose inheritance was taken by Mercado de S. Sebastião, close to Sé Cathedral.

Palácio da Justiça was designed following the architectural rules of Portuguese dictatorship, Estado Novo, monumental, with classicist and austere features, intended to underline the power of the State and the Force of Justice. Like all the buildings designed under a Fascist regime, this one has symbolism all over, from the semi-circular typical basilical plan of the Roman courts to the wide staircase of the main façade that reminds us the entrance of classical temples. In between the pillars, which divide the façade, we find a symbolic representation of the Sources of Law, designed by Salvador Barata Feyo: Doctrine,  Natural Law, Law, Praxis and Jurisprudence.

5 esculturas de Barata Feyo perfilam-se entre os pilares do Palácio da Justiça

Sources of Law on the façade

On Palácio da Justiça’s left side there’s a statue, seven meters high –  the biggest minted in bronze in Portugal – created by Leopoldo de Almeida, representing greek goddess Themis, commonly known as Justice, in a hieratic classicist posture. Two elements immediately capture our attention, the absence of a blindfold and the scale resting on the body’s left side. Although it is a classic and austere sculpture, the author decided to grant it a touch of modernity representing it with eyes wide open, attentive to changes in legislation and society in perpetual adaptation and not clinging to the shackles of the Past.

A Justiça ladeada pelo baixo relevo de Euclides Vaz

Themis AKA Justice with eyes wide open, and the Cardinal Virtues

Behind Themis, we can admire a fabulous art-deco bas-relief,  by Euclides Vaz, representing the evolution of justice, starting with the Divine Law and ending with the bases of Roman Law. On the top level, Old Testament scenes representing Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream; next Moses, after receiving the Tables of the Law, faces the Golden Calf worshipers; on the last line, two episodes of the Book of Job and Daniel.On the lower levels, working as a frame to the statue, the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Courage and Temperance.

Inside the Palace we can find Museu Judiciário (Judiciary Museum), which collects objects related to the exercise of Justice like  a curious fingerprinting, used to identify the prisoners, books of Law including the handwritten version of Ferreira Borges of the first Portuguese Commercial Code, and some famous cases such as the adultery of Camilo Castelo Branco or Zé do Telhado’s process, the Portuguese Robin Hood.

Uma porta aberta revela o interior do museu Judiciário no Palácio da Justiça

In the Judiciary Museum we can find one of the altars of Cadeia da Relação

Once inside, in Passos Perdidos, literally lost steps (name designating the areas where people are waiting and losing steps, literally), it is worth investigating the various floors hosting remarkable frescos: on the second floor, the iter criminis (the way the criminal) by João Martins da Costa; on the 3rd floor,  António Figueiredo Coelho painted the final destinations of the human being; and on 5th floor, Porto’s historical episodes by Severo Portela Junior .

À direita os frescos de Severo Portela Júnior

Passos Perdidos are decorated with frescos of three portuguese artists

A lot of people in Porto avoid visiting Palácio da Justiça because they associate  it with the Court and bad events. However, we have to be  fair and say that this building holds an amazing collection and a visit will change people’s mind. You can go solo, or with us in our Porto Beginner’s Guide.

Museu Judiciário is opened from  Monday to Friday,  9:00-1:30h and 13:30-17:00h.

Porto City Parks – Parque da ...

Parque da Cidade in Porto is the biggest urban park in Portugal and the ideal place to have a nice relaxed walk, do your workout, have a picnic or even some birdwatching.

Parque da Cidade, meaning city park, located on the western end of Avenida da Boavista, is one of the city’s lungs. Facing the ocean and with a direct access to Praia Internacional (the beach), the park, has more than 80 hectares of area and tries to replicate a rural ambience, and that’s why it’s classified as a “naturalist” style park. If you decide to go to the beach, try one of the surf schools based in, and around, Edifício Transparente, and take a look at “She Changes“, a  27-meter high floating sculpture by Janet Echelman – locally known as anémona (anemone). #3 on the map below.

three-dimensional multi-layer net floats over the Cidade Salvador Plaza

“She Changes” by Janet Echelman

Parque da Cidade was inaugurated in the 1990’s and designed by Sidónio Pardal, a Portuguese landscape architect, that was inspired by the works of Jens Jensen, Puckler-Muskauer and Olmsted, New York’s Central Park chief architect from 1858 to 1861. Large open areas and scenic viewpoints are trademarks that you can easily find together with lakes with a lot of ducks, geese, cormorants, gulls, starlings and a lot more birds, so take your camera or binoculars if you are into birdwatching.

PArque da Cidade geese feeding

Attack of the geese!

On the northwest corner of Parque da Cidade, you can find Queimódromo, a big open space used for different events like Red Bull Air Race airstrip, Circuito da Boavista racecourse paddock, and the home of the University of Porto biggest party, Queima das Fitas.  This area is also the official entrance way to NOS Primavera Sound, an annual music festival usually held in the first week of June. 2016 lineup just got out and features artists and bands like Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, Dinosaur JR and PJ Harvey.  #2 on the map below.

PArque da Cidade pai e filho

The park is very children-friendly

On Parque da Cidade’s North side, close to the entrance in Estrada da Circunvalação, you can find Pavilhão da Água, a beautiful contemporary building created by Alexandre Burmester and José Carlos Gonçalves for Expo ’98 World Fair and donated to Porto in 2002, were children, and grown ups, can learn a lot about water’s value and its usefulness.  #7 on the map below.

Pavilhão da Água no Parque da Cidade oferecido pela UNICER

Contemporary architecture and water

A little bit east from this spot, on the northeast corner, on Rua da Vilarinha entrance, every Saturday you can visit Mercado Biológico, which features Organic fruits and vegetables, and buy apples, that taste and smell like real apples, and onions, potatoes… If you are getting hungry, you can have a coffee and a light snack at the granary’s terrace, or try one of the amazing soundwiches created by seven of the top chefs in Portugal. Do it in the renovated farmhouse or on the sunny terrace.  #6 on the map below.

Rain or shine, this the right spot to do it all!

A map of PArque da Cidade Showing the spots mentioned

Thank’s Google Maps!

Getting there

Now you ask me how to get to Parque da Cidade.

Bus is the best way to get there and you’ll be right at the door – one of them at least:

#1 Entrance: Estrada da Circunvalação  – Bus 205 (Campanhã Train Station – Castelo do Queijo)

#4 Entrance: Praia Internacional – Buses 500 (Praça da Liberdade – Matosinhos) and 502 (Bolhão Market – Matosinhos)

#5 Entrance: Avenida da Boavista – Bus 502 (Bolhão Market – Matosinhos)

#6 Entrance: Rua da Vilarinha – Bus 501 (Aliados-Matosinhos)

Holy week in Porto

During Holy Week in Porto churches and house balconies are decorated with purple colors to celebrate the Lord’s Passion. There are no organized processions but we suggest a unique Via Crucis.

Holy Week in Braga is the most famous in Portugal and, during the celebration of the Passion of Christ, accommodation in the city is usually fully booked. A good solution is to use Porto as your home base and go back and forth with train rides – €6,20 roundtrip, one-hour duration, every hour.

During Holy Week, in Porto, there are no public processions, but there are other ways to relive the episodes of Via Dolorosa. In Clérigos Church, built in the eighteenth century and known for its omnipresent tower, there’s a museum with an interesting collection of religious art. While  celebrating the 250th anniversary of its construction, the Clérigos Brotherhood  opened the Old Hospital and the Brotherhood’s headquarters to the general public.

In this area, you can find the Christus collection which was drawn from a donation of António Manuel Cipriano Miranda, collector and passionate of Christian iconography, who decided to enrich Porto’s heritage, through Clérigo’s Brotherhood, with 400 (!!!) representations of Christ.

It is in this environment that we can make our Via Crucis during Holy Week, a route, short but intense, that shows the before and after of the Way of the Cross.

Judas Kiss

a group of men, on the right, Judas kisses Jesus in the Holy Week episodes

On the right dressed in orange, Judas with a bag of 30 pieces of silver kisses Jesus; On the left, the soldiers who come to arrest Jesus; Below, on the same side, one of the companions of Jesus cuts an ear to one of the captors.

This episode is not part of the 14 official stations of the Way of the Cross, but it’s often depicted in Holy Week and it’s very popular in local mythology, symbolizing Betrayal or Treason. Judas “sells” his friend and master for 30 pieces of silver as described by Mark (14, 43-47), Luke (22, 47-50) and also Matthew (26,47 to 51):

 «While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”  Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.  With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.»

With this action, Judas Iscariot sets in motion the events that will lead to the Passion of Christ. Later, as all who betray, Judas repented and, although Forgiveness is one of the foundations of the doctrine of Christ, nothing prevents them traitors to resolve matters into their own hands.

«When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”  So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.» Matthew 27, 3-5.

Flagellation of Christ

Framework dating from the eighteenth century and nineteenth shows the flagellation of Christ a Holy Week classic

Flagellation of Christ with the corresponding iconography: the Column, the Whip and Rope, three of the Instruments of the Passion.

Flagellation was often represented over the centuries, whether in painting or sculpture, by the likes of Caravaggio and Piero della Francesca, is one of the key scenes of Holy Week. However, in the Gospels it’s never referred as Flagellation but “flogging”.

Matthew (27, 26) describes it better than John (19,1) and Mark (15,15), «Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.»

Jesus carries the cross before Veronica

the Veil of Veronica is depicted on tbhe lower left corner while Jesus carries the Cross

Jesus carries the Cross and below, at the left corner, Veronica holds her Veil

Santa Veronica is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, which marks the beginning of Lent. The Veil of Veronica is a relic that, according to information that began to circulate in the 8th century, was used to clean Jesus face during the Lord’s Passion, marking the Holy Face the fabric.

Traditionally associated with the station number 6 of the Way of the Cross, Veronica’s representation is not confirmed by the Gospels. Popularized in the 12th century and supported by many Popes, this legend has taken a strong role in the Christian religion and was widespread.

Jesus is taken down from the Cross

Joseph of Arimathea helps Jesus come down from the cross

Descent from the Cross – low relief in gilt – XVII-XVIII Centuries

Descent from the Cross or The Deposition of Christ or Jesus is taken from the Cross and given to his Mother down, are possible titles for the episode described by John in 19,38, which corresponds to the 13th station of the Via Dolorosa.

«Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.»

In this representation we see a soldier receiving Jesus Body wich is held down by Joseph of Arimathea, as Mary is comforted by Mary Magdalene.  Joseph became a legendary character in the fourth century and, later in eleven and twelve centuries, was associated with the Holy Grail and King Arthur, the foundation of the first church in England (Glastonbury) and, in Spain, the consecration as bishop by Saint James.

Pietá

Mary, dressed in blue, holds Jesus in another episode of Holy Week

Pietá, or Mary holding the body of Jesus

The Pietá or Lamentation of Christ represents the moment when Mary receives her Son’s Body after the Descent from the Cross. It is a recurring theme of religious art and this the sixteenth or seventeenth-century representation shows the interpretation of a Spanish workshop in a beautiful carved wood work, painted in tempera and gold.

You cand find all of these art works and much more in Christus collection, during Holy Week or any other week, for just 3 euro. With this bargain you have, included, the climb to the Tower and to the Church upper levels.

Clérigos Church:

Rua de São Filipe Nery, Porto 4050-546

Opens: 9:00h – 19:00h

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and culminates with Easter Sunday, with the Maundy or Washing of the Feet and Last Supper on thursday, the Lord’s Passion, on Good Friday evoking the death of Jesus.

Sandwiches you shouldn’t mis ...

Sandwiches in Porto are usually served in a white bread called molete and, if you want one just look for a sande. While in town look for the three different but delicious sandwiches that we had to eat!

Sandwiches are always a good option to grab and go or, Porto style, having it at the stainless steel counter in tascos, their natural environment. A lot of the old tascos is suffering a makeover (the ones we call now neo-tascos), thanks to the huge wave of renovation that affects the City. However, renewal in Porto doesn’t mean destroying local culture so, between the existent ones that knew how to do an update and new ones that have a fresh approach to traditional cuisine, tascos are branded with both quality and authenticity. Barcelona born and bred, but living in Porto for 10 years now, I’m always surprised  that you can get authentic Portuguese food everywhere, without the obvious “software updates” NouvelleCuisine 2.0, with the ever present brie, foie or flambée goat cheese.

 

The inside of a bar showing up the smoked ham used for the amazing sandwiches

Local Neo-tasco in Rua da Picaria

Sandes de bochecha de porco preto

Iberian Pig cheek is the queen of sandwiches in  Casa Marlindo, located in Rua de Trás 15, close to São Bento train station and Avenida dos Aliados. This casa de pasto (a kind of tasco), estabilished in the 1950’s and completely renewed in 2015, its the kind of place where you can have a quick petisco and a glass of wine throughout the day. The cheek is marinated and stewed, slowly, to reach that delicious, delicate, softness – have it with a cold and fresh white Vinho Verde.

Iberian Sandwiches with the matching Vinho Verde.

Iberian Pig’s cheek sandwich!

Sandes de chanfana

Chanfana, an 8-hour goat and red wine stew that will make the meat fall from the bones. This sandwich can be found in  Lareira, also a renewed tasco in Rua das Oliveiras 8, on a corner of Praça Carlos Alberto  and very near to Clérigos Tower. The name Lareira, meaning fireplace, comes from the eponymous structure that you can find in the main room. This sandwich goes better with a glass of espadal, a kind of Vinho Verde, rosé style.

Another excellent option, here, is the Pica pau (woodpecker).

Goat stew and bread.

Stewed goat in Sandwiches, who would’ve thought of it

Peido serrano

Peido serrano, meaning mountain’s fart, mixes the excellent Portuguese smoked ham (presunto) and a fried egg – when you bite it most of the times there’s an explosion. One of the places where you can get it is in Taxca, close to Avenida dos Aliados in Rua da Picaria 26, a street traditionally occupied by furniture shops and now, slowly, being replaced by restaurants and tascosTaxca  was one of the first neo-tascos in this area, and it’s the son of the famous and historical mother-house,  A Badalhoca (the dirty lady), located in Boavista area.

In this tasco, peido serrano as a politically correct name, P.O. (meaning Presunto and Ovo – ham and egg) and can be tasted with a dry espadal. As an option get a liver sandwich, fried with onion and green pepper.

IMG_4881

Peido Serrano

With this said, try not to get fat while in Porto!

 

Porto City Parks – Parque de ...

Parque de Serralves, located in Boavista neighborhood and very close to Parque da Cidade, has a perfect fusion between contemporary art, architecture and beautiful gardens.

Close to the main entrance, facing Avenida Marechal Gomes da Costa, you can find Casa de Serralves, an amazing example of Art Déco, signed by a few different architects, the most famous was Porto’s son, Marques da Silva. Surrounding the house, a curious and unique garden from the 1930’s designed by Jacques Gréber on a classic modernist style.

A garden that combines water, green spaces and trees by Jacques Gréber

Jacques Gréber’s modernist garden

The rest of the park has beautiful romantic style period gardens, with lush vegetation zones, wooded walks, caves and a lake. In the grounds central part, next to the tennis court you can find Casa de Chá (Tea house), a relaxed environment with a varied menu of teas, natural fruit and cakes. Further away, on the South corner, there’s an area with animals and gardens that receive visits from school groups and families.

A red trowel stands at the entrance of the park

Plantoir, 2001 – Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Currently, the house and garden are part of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Serralves and, since the 90’s the museum is housed in a building designed by Pritzker Prize winner, Álvaro Siza Vieira, one of the most important representatives of the Porto School of Architecture. Serralves is the most important museum of contemporary art in Portugal and a benchmark internationally, with a collection that begins in the 60s of XX century and is updated continuously.

Different size light bulbs hanging in front of a generous window that shows the green park

The gardens from inside the museum building

It is in this amazing and privileged environment that, once a year in late May, is celebrated Serralves em Festa, a non-stop party with performance, music, dance and theater. In the last weekend of September is held Festa do Outono, a party celebrating Autumn with a lot of activities for families and children.

A man dressed in black balances bird cages

Algures (Somewhere) – Theatre during Serralves em Festa 2015

Entrance to the park costs €4 and Museum+Park €8.5, but on Sundays, you can visit the gardens and museum for free, between 10h to 13h.

Admissions:

October and March: from 3rd to 6th 10-18h, Saturdays and Sundays 10-19h, close on the second.

October to March: Tuesday to Friday 10h-18h, Saturdays and Sundays 10h-19h, closes on Mondays.

April to September: Tuesday to Friday 10h-19h, Saturdays and Sundays 10h-20h; Monday museum and house closed, park open.

Bifana and where to eat it

Bifana, one of Porto’s most famous munchies, consists in thinly sliced pork, quickly stewed in a

spicy tomato sauce and surrounded by a delicious and crackling white bread.

In Porto, if you’re passing by and you happen to see a big frying pan with a reddish boiling sauce on a bar’s window, just go inside and try the Bifana.

Inside the pan there’s pork seasoned the day before with a well kept secret, and stewed in a sauce that has some alchoolic beverages, tomato and some more secrets… Each bar has it’s own.

The meat is tender and soft and really tasty, and for those that worry about spicy food, it’s not very strong.

The average price is around 2€ and you can find it in Tascas and in popular festivities like Porto’s Saint John.

molho conga bifanas
The big pan with Bifana’s boiling sauce.

One of the most famous places to eat Bifana is Conga, very close to Rivoli theather, Bolhão market and the town hall.

If you want to try something different go for quail, stewed on the same sauce. The waiters call them chicken, or little birds.

Close to S. Bento station you’ll find some places to have a nice Bifana; Adega Quim and Viseu no Porto are two places where you can grab one, but always with the golden rule, have it the northern beer – Super Bock!

bifana conga
Bifana’s and Fries. And Super Bock!

Conga- Casa das Bifanas

Rua do Bonjardim 314

Adega do Quim

Rua da Madeira 226

Viseu no Porto

Rua da Madeira 212

O silo auto perto do Jornal de Notícias

The beauty of Vertical Garages in ...

There are lots of parkings where you can leave your car in the city centre, including some beautiful historical buildings, as old as the first cars in Porto.

In the early years of the 20th century, and with the quick proliferation of fuel powered vehicles, there was a need to create good solutions to accommodate them. In Porto, in the 1930’s, some garage where built, and not only with practical reasons, but also as a symbol of a modern and cultural vibrant city.

One of the first parkings that was built, in 1932, was the Garagem do Comércio do Porto. You can find it close to Aliados, on the corner of Rua Elísio de Melo and Praça Filipa de Lencastre. Its architect, Rogério de Azevedo, gave it a modernist look, with four levels of parking and, on the top floors, offices. On the ground floor, close to the payment booth, you can take a peek at some old pictures depicting the building’s early years. It’s close by to AXA Building and right on the nightlife district’s core, so it’s a good option to park when going for a night out.

Vista sobre a totalidade do edifício da Garagem do Comércio do Porto.

Almost at the top of Rua Passos Manuel, just in front of Coliseu, you’ll find Garagem Passos Manuel, which opened in 1939 following a project from architect Mário de Abreu. With a pure Art Déco soul, it has 3 parking levels and, at the front, a beautiful neon map of Portugal. On the ground floor there’s a barber shop, and on the fourth level you can find Maus Hábitos, a mix between a bar, cultural association, artistic residency, a vegetarian restaurant and a very nice panoramic view of the city’s centre.This place hosts multilingual Catavino Story Nights – check it out.

At the far end of Rua do Bolhão stands Silo Auto, a huge seven floor cylindrical structure, conceived by architects Alberto José Pessoa and João Abel Bessa. The first project included an ice hockey rink and a restaurant at the upper levels that were never built. At the lower entrance you can find one of the few city centre’s fuel station, and a newspaper stand. The middle levels are used every now and then by Flea Market Porto, and whenever it rains for a car boot sale.

With these cool options who wants to park underground?