Porto Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
OUr next meeting was in Porto, the second largest city in Portugal. The metropolitan area has a little over one million people. One of the major exports from this area is Port Wine, which takes it's name from the city. The city has historical ties to England and many of the port producing companies have English names -- Warres, Taylor's, Sandemann, etc.
After our meeting, we checked into the Hotel Infante de Sagres. The hotel is near the Rio Duoro (River of Gold) which is the the river to the Atlantic where port was taken downstream to be shipped off to London. The hotel is right below a large arched bridge over the River Duoro, designed and build by and French engineer by the name of Eiffel.
We had a good dinner there at the hotel restaurant. Evidently many famous people have eaten here over the years -- Fidel Castro, Jacque Chirac and Bill Clinton all have their pictures on the wall here. We had a good selection of hors de ouvres to start -- marinated carrots, octopus, olives, a bread made from corn and little beef sandwiches. The main course was a selection of grilled seafood -- sea bass, cod, salmon and shrimp mostly. We had a dry white port as the wine for the meal. It was very nice.
The hotel's name, Infantes de Sagres, means hte son who is not the first born (heir to the King). It is referring to Prince Henry, the Navigator. Prince Henry founded the famous school of navigation that trained Magellan, Vasco de Gama, etc. The hotel is quite old, with lots of wood and tiles that have a definite Moorish look to them. I had a nice big room with a large bathroom. I could not get the air conditioner to work, so I opened the windows to cool off a bit. It was very noisy with the windows opened -- seagulls squawking, cats in heat screaming, and some neighbor getting up to piss every hour -- and watch tower bells ringing every 15 minutes. I did not sleep well here.