Tag Archives: Oporto

11 June 2018:
Oporto, Portugal:
Sweet Forgiveness

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Porto is not the most famous place in Portugal, unless you have a particular affinity for a particular form of liquefied grape.

Porto is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto (also known as Oporto) has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area.

The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Lisbon is the grand city of palaces and monasteries and monuments and a metropolitan population of about 2.8 million.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Porto is instead a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

But it is the home of a form of liquid gold. The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Douro may come from ancient Celtic tribes, for whom the word meant water. In Roman times, the river was personified as the god Durius.

Or, and this definition is much preferred by modern Portuguese (especially in the tourist bureau), the name may mean “River of Gold”, as in Rio do ouro.

The most famous of the wines is Vinho do Porto, a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

Port wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The wine is then stored and aged, often in barrels stored in a cave (pronounced “cahv”) before being taken from that storage cellar to be bottled.

The Douro valley was defined as a protected region for winemaking, an appellation, in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Over a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned for port production, although only five are widely cultivated and used.

We’ll raise a toast with a few after dinner tonight.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

26 May 2017:
Oporto, Portugal:
Let Us Raise a Toast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Porto, which may not the most famous of places in Portugal, unless you have a particular affinity for a particular form of liquefied grape.

Porto is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area.

Today we went for a walk through the old city of Porto (also called Oporto). Among the places we sought out: the old  Igreja do Carmo, the Carmelite Church of 1756 and the spectacular Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento, the 1896 train station which is decorated floor to ceiling with fabulous tiles telling the story of Portugal.

And we also stopped by the famous Livraria Lello Porto bookstore where J.K. Rowling, an impoverished teacher at the time, hand-wrote the first three chapters of the first book of the Harry Potter series.

PORTO MAY 26, 2017

Igreja do Carmo

Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento

Livraria Lello Porto

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Porto, well, it’s a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

They say:

“Porto works, Braga Prays, Coimbra, studies, and Lisbon gets the money.”

A TOAST TO PORTO

We’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of fine Port after dinner.

Port Wine is named for Porto, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Vinho do Porto is a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

The wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

10 September 2015
Porto (Leixões), Portugal: Tripe, Wizards, and Port

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our penultimate port of call on this cruise is Porto, not the most famous of places in Portugal.

It is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area. The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Lisbon is the grand city of palaces and monasteries and monuments and a metropolitan population of about 2.8 million, and it lies ahead of us.

Porto, well, it’s a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

The city is located along the Douro river estuary.

Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, is said by some historians to be the source of the name “Portugal.”

We’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of fine Port after dinner.

Port Wine is named for Porto, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Vinho do Porto is a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

The wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.