Our main motivation for coming to Porto was to learn about and drink Port wine at all of the port houses along the river. But we didn't want to start a Port tasting day, knowing that we could be getting a call from the airport about our bags at any moment. (We were told the night before that our bags should be arriving today.)
So we decided to fill our morning with some adventuring through the city to see the sites of Porto.
Our first destination was the Clérigos church and tower. But on the way, we came across some pretty buildings, views of the city, a fountain with silly dolphin/fishes, and a park with statues that we couldn't quite figure out.
Right near the Clérigos church and tower, we came across two of the main attractions for Harry Potter fans in Porto! (J.K. Rowling had lived in Porto for a while before writing the books.)
Here is me with the fountain that supposedly inspired the Gryffindor house mascot.
And here is the book store that inspired the Hogwarts library, complete with a big queue of people waiting to get inside. Elin and Cole who had been in Porto last year advised us to get tickets in advance, so as to avoid at least one of the long lines to get in. With all of the chaos of lost luggage, we failed to do so, but we still got to peak in from the street!
At this point, we got in a much shorter line to buy tickets to go inside the Clérigos church and tower. The church was quite pretty and had a walkway that took you behind the main altar which was pretty neat!
After exploring the church we began our ascent up the tower. We had read online that the steps could be quite arduous and claustrophobic, so we were prepared for the worst. But it ended up being not bad at all, especially in comparison to the stairs at Blarney Castle and the tower we climbed in Kilkenny.
On the way up and at the top, we got some good views of the city!
The timing worked out that as we finished up with our tower climb, the church's organ player was scheduled to start his daily performance. We listened to him tell us about his performance and the church and then listened for a while before continuing our exploration.
From Clérigos, we continued our adventuring further into the heart of the city (which also happens to be up a hill). We got a very dense and filling meat-filled pastry to share for lunch, took a picture with the Porto sign, and checked out the train station known for its blue-tiled designs inside.
The last main thing on our city exploring adventure was the Porto Cathedral and cloister.
If our luggage had been delivered to our hotel reception in the morning as promised, our plan was to continue the second half of our day with Port tasting on the other side of the river. Of course, though, things didn't work out that easily. We had gotten an email at 5:30 in the morning from KLM that our luggage would be arriving to Porto soon, but by 1 o'clock in the afternoon, we still hadn't heard anything about actually getting our luggage from the airline/airport.
So we decided to play it safe by altering our plans. Before heading back to the hotel, though, we did a quick trip across the top of the Ponte Luis. (Porto is so hilly that the bridge has an upper and lower part.) From where we were after our city exploring, we got to walk across the top part to the other side of the river. Once on the other side, we walked down a hill and crossed back on the lower part of the bridge. Along the way, we got some great views of the city and river!
Once back on our side of the river, we called the airline and were told again that we should be receiving our luggage today. But we were also told that they didn't know what time we would be getting it or whether they would actually be able to deliver it to our hotel, which is not easily accessible by car.
To ensure that we would be close by if necessary, we found a place that did port tasting right outside our hotel and had our first port of the trip! It was really good!
After our port tasting, we still hadn't heard anything so we decided to hang out on our balcony as our hopes of getting luggage today dwindled. But it wasn't long before we got a knock on our door that our luggage had arrived. Yay! I was quite happy to be reunited with my bag (and Dylan was probably especially glad that I was reunited with the toothbrush, toothpaste, and deoderant inside.)
With our spirits much lifted, we ventured across the lower part of the bridge to the other side of the river to scope out some of the Port cellars to visit tomorrow. Along the way, we enjoyed more views of the city, saw this cool rabbit street art, and found a place to eat dinner overlooking the river. We ended up accidently ordering way too much food, but we enjoyed sampling some of the Porto specialties like the franceisina sandwich, which is swimming in a lake of tomato/beer sauce and has about five different types of meat in it and an egg and melted cheese on top. It was extremely filling but good!
After dinner, we relaxed while watching an incredible sunset. I realized that I hadn't fully appreciated just how pretty the city was until this point.
Eventually, we headed back to our hotel, coming across some street performers along the way. For a day that was pretty stress-filled, it ended on a high note.