Walking through the city is visually entertaining…almost absurdly so. The city’s building stock is a mix of the falling apart, the beautifully preserved, and obvious gentrification. Our Airbnb apartment is sparkling new, formerly a printing business of some kind, reached by a broad refinished wood staircase and outfitted in Ikea or Ikea analog modern. Directly across the narrow street is a renovation in progress—almost every block has such change underway. Good time to be in the building trades!
One feature of the older buildings is the gigantic-human-figure on a large number of public or quasi-public buildings. It is a tiny bit creepy…they loom over the population, sometimes posed to be peering down, sometimes crowning the roof. A few of many:
Along with the gorgeous buildings there is an array of street art. I snapped just a few…but don’t you love that cat?
The river winds between Porto and Gaia, with the iron bridge that allows pedestrians on both levels, walkers sharing with cars on the lower and the metro on the upper. We walked to Gaia on the upper level, then wandered our way down to river level and crossed on the lower level back to Porto, climbing the long stairway from sidewalk, past both abandoned and occupied buildings wedged along and under the bridge, finally coming out into the city proper. So glad it wasn’t hot!
People and vehicles seem to mesh rather well…cars, buses, and trucks always pause for walkers as in Lisbon and Evora, with a fair bit of jaywalking well tolerated. Many of the streets are so narrow, with extremely narrow sidewalks (one person with a shopping bag wide) that it really couldn’t work any other way.
Of course Porto buildings often show off the gorgeousness tiles for which Portugal is famous, some of which are above. When we arrived we scooted through the train station anxious to find our apartment, but returned to take it all in and snap a few pictures which do not do it justice.
I look forward to my next post…the food! Have to go to dinner now.