When the plan works…

The plan was to have lunch at Matosinhos, an area near the harbour renowned for exquisite seafood, a swim at Piscina das Mares and return on the 500 bus. Step one was to get a metro card and work out how to use it. We decided on a three day ‘andante tour’ card which gave us access to trains, trams and the metro. Fifteen euro for three days…bargain!! We got the right metro and alighted at Brito Capelo.

My thoughts, ‘Umm This?…is a fantastic sea-food area? Looks dodgie Dodge.’

John had chosen a restaurant, Man media-nau: peixe na brasa. Translated the name of the restaurant is Midshipman and they serve grilled seafood. He had done the research and it had wonderful reviews. We arrived with great expectations only to have them dashed. They were fully booked. I looked at him with that, ‘Well, I don’t think it is a secret, John’, look. The main man took pity on us. (He might have seen the look!) Generally they don’t like recommending another place but he might have been related. He steered us in the direction… ‘Just down the road. Tito II.’ We were in luck. It was a bit out of the way and from the outside rather dingy, fitting right into the rest of the area. But, we were in for yet another Porto culinary treat. Grilled sardines, Madagascan prawns, red and white wine…absolutely lovely. We were satiated.

So, after a long lunch it was on the bus and on to Piscina das Mares, a swimming complex with rock pools designed by an award winning local architect, Alvaro Siza. It was five euro for over sixty-fives (a reward for making it I suppose) and we found our spot among the sun worshippers, swimmers and dancers? No…it was aqua aerobics! Really? I was not expecting that. We must have arrived towards the end of the session as the pool soon cleared and kids and the rest of us were able to have a swim and cool off. The Piscina was cordoned off but there was plenty of beach either side and thousands took advantage of the gentle surf and sandy beach.

The 500 bus is one of those city buses that seems to hit all the hot spots. Every city seems to have one of these bus routes. This trip would take an hour and go along the coast back to Sao Bento which was only metres from our accommodation.

It was still early- eight o’clock and the sun was yet to set. We certainly didn’t need food but a cocktail was in order. We found a watering hole and settled in to enjoy the live entertainment offered courtesy of Rua das Flores. Medieval minstrels, acoustic guitarists, tourists testing traditional Portuguese dishes and friends celebrating the announcement of their friend’s pregnancy. Life…and all its accoutrements.

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