๐Ÿš‚ Day 10 : We-Go Vi-Go ๐Ÿš‚

Pre-Dawn ๐ŸŒ… ……and like the ๐Ÿ’ช Caministas we now are ; we regretfully but swiftly pack up our apartment into our backpacks ๐ŸŽ’ rainy , still dark – we hail a cab and at the station for 7.00am . Time for a superior station breakfast ! and ready for the Vigo train .

It’s unsettling to see our walk of the previous 9 days unravelling at such speed as we reverse our trail on the way back to Porto.

But first – we have cross back into Portugal to go via Vigo – not on our previous route .

“YOU CAN’T GET TO PORTO BY TRAIN”

All the travel sites , inc’ tbe good ones Trainline.Com , Rome2Rio etc won’t give you a rail connection from Santiago to Porto. “Just take the bus” they say – I wondered why – I found and booked the connection – but now I know why .

They don’t believe you can arrive on the 8.33am at Vigo Urzรกiz ……..

And get across the city in time to Vigo Guixar for the 8.58am to Porto ( 2 trains a day – the next at 5.30 pm !!! ) …… and ….

…… having done the mad taxi ๐Ÿš• ride across town … ( Driver seemed to relish the challenge ๐Ÿคฃ) …. I can see their point ! – but you CAN make it – we did ! ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ .

Worth it though . Cross the border in the middle of the river Ria de Vigo we had previously walked across – upriver at Redondela a week ago .

It means we’re in Porto , a full day ahead and sat out on our own Perfect Pan-tiled Porto Patio by 11.00am ….. lush .

Tonights hotel – The hugely over-ornate 5 Storeys folly of a house known as the Castelo Santa Catarina is a hoot!

Clad in Millions of Blue Tiles , it’s own Chapel , own Victorian Grotto – bizarre with rooms made out of random parts of the house – ours is the middle right Pic next to the blue vase – vast – that used to be an entrance hall , patio and staff quarters 100 years ago – quite eccentric .

We head out to see the town – immediately taken aback by the mix of beautiful , historical and modern mixed with dilapidated, & wrecked buildings – just 10 mins walk from the centre.

Gradually you begin to get a feel for the place – the faded grandeur on one hand and the vibrant future on the other.

Still – a property developers dream

Under-dressed for the fabulously baroque /kitsch Cafรฉ Majestic ( when you carry everything you own on your back – fashion sacrifices have to be made ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‡ )

We follow the descending tram-tracks and more blue-tiled magnificence to the almost Parisiรฉn pavement cafรฉs of Praรงa de Liberdade –

…….. remember we’re still in the Santo Ildefonso parish same as the hotel and the wrecks

I have some places I want to go – we have best part of 2 days …… bars , bridges culture , cathedrals, religion , Douro riverside , restaurants ….. so where to first ?

Yep …… H&M ….. the tweenagers fave clothes shop followed by McDonalds ๐Ÿ™„.

Apparently I (May) have suggested a shopping day at the end of our trip as motivation – ( bit of a blur really ) .๐Ÿคฃ

At least we are in the Via Catarina ๐Ÿ› Shopping Centre – with that quirky approach to street art I’ve only seen in Portugal ๐Ÿ‘

….. and if you’re going to have A toy shop at least you should have a separate entrance for the children! After all it’s their show.

๐Ÿ™ ….. released from the bonds of waiting outside changing rooms and making approving noises ; we head for a welcome glass of Vinho Verdรฉ on the main square again – people (and ๐Ÿป bear) watching.

……. and yet more imaginative street art โ€“ and one of my top 5 favourite pictures of the trip.

….. while being stalked on the way back to the Hotel ………

And head out to Dinner – uphill to Praรงa do Marquรฉs de Pombal – new outfits of course !

its a cool , quiet evening on this square – in the opposite direction to the main attractions . All local “Porto-istas” – around here . I learn that lesson about Porto again – “not judging a book by its cover”

We pass this …….. Cafรฉ Pereira – looks perfect for dinner …

…… but we jumped out when – BIZARRE – they have a “reverse” smoking policy !!

Inside – thick fog – everyone , EVERYONE smoking : Outside – very nice facing the square for NON- smokers . Ha ! ๐Ÿ™„.

Next door what looks like a run down bargain-booze shop …….. ( Book and Cover )

Turns out to be ……… high end Italian !

…… Great food & wine and a calm space to end our first day in Porto .

Xoxox

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