Exploring Porto

We sailed from Bitetos early this morning and arrived back at Vila Nova da Gaia by breakfast time. Today we’re exploring the city of Porto. Local guides escort us and some guests join a morning city tour which is part by coach and part on foot. The tour includes a scenic drive through the old and new parts of town and visits to the cathedral and the train station, which boasts amazing blue and white tiled panels. We also walked across the top level of the Dom Luis Bridge and had an opportunity to descend back to Gaia via the Porto Cable Car! A second option today was to follow much of the same route in the centre of town, make the same visits, cross the bridge and take the cable car... but all on foot. Active walkers this way please! Both options prove popular.

After re-grouping at Gaia, we all boarded our coaches for the drive uphill to Graham’s Port Wine House. Local guides escorted us through the cellars and explained some of the history of Graham’s. Behind protective bars there were many bottles of port dating from the early 1900’s onwards. After a tasting of three ports we exited via a shop... not a good idea! We’re not sure how our guests will carry home all their souvenir purchases but they’ll have fun trying!

After lunch back on board ship, some guests head off aboard an open-top sightseeing bus for a limited edition tour to Matosinhos. This coastal town is famous for the preparation of typical Portuguese fish dishes and guests get to see a local chef at work and then taste the results!

This evening our captain hosts a farewell cocktail reception. We get to reminisce about the most enjoyable week we’ve spent on board and we thank the crew and staff for their considerable efforts in making us so welcome and well looked-after. After a fabulous farewell dinner, there’s one more surprise... a student group, Tuna, who play and sing acoustically... with mandolin, guitars, clarinet, double bass, drums and tambourines. They are young, enthusiastic, great players and singers, and are having fun. And so are we! A great way to conclude an excellent week on board.