JUL 27,2014 - JUL 27,2014 (1 DAYS)
Porto - from Campanhã to Ribeira: 1/2 day:
Main attractions: Museu Militar do Porto, Rua Duque Saldanha - a lot of houses with ceramic tiles, mainly, green ones, Colégio Salesianos Porto (sight of the Douro), Bonfim and Se' parishes over the Douro, Escada dos Guindais, Funicular dos Guindais, Ponte Luis I, Praça da Ribeira and Cais da Ribeira, Cais Estiva, Casa do Infante.
Start: Campanhã Metro station.
End : Praça da Ribeira or Cais da Ribeira.
Orientation: Half a day along the Douro river. Stunning view from the north (Porto) bank of the river. Second, only, to the views from the Crystal Palace Gardens. You go along narrow roads in quite poor sections of Porto (Bonfim and Se'), with the morning sun in your back, perfectly lighting the mighty river downstairs and... being the sole tourist here.
Distance: 5-6 km.
The itinerary: From Campanhã Metro station turn right (west) to Rua Pinto Bessa. On the second cross-way turn left to Rua Padre António Vieira. Note, on your right, house # 179 (nice Azulejos). In the end of the road - Igreja do Bonfim. Turn right to Rua do Heroísmo and walk along the whole road (west) until its end. When you pass, on your right, Rua António Granjo (almost the end of Rua do Heroísmo) - you see on your left the Museu Militar do Porto, Rua do Heroísmo 329. This building in the Rua do Heroísmo, was a base of the former secret police PIDE/DGS used to be located between the 1940s up to 1974. The military museum in the city of Porto dates back to the late 19th century, when a portuense painter, Joaquim Vitorino Ribeiro, started collecting pieces and documents related to military history. This collection was then the base of an exposition inaugurated in August 24, 1920, by President António José de Almeida, marking the centenary of the Liberal Revolution of 1820. The exposition resulted in an interest by the City Council in creating a permanent military museum in the city. The collection has been transferred to this building during the years 1977 - 1980. The collection of miniature figures, displaying the evolution of soldiers since pre-history times till nowadays, is the museum's main attraction. This collection is represented by around 16,000 miniatures. The museum collection also includes several artillery pieces and combat vehicles, from the 15th to the 20th centuries, located in museum's courtyard.
British soldiers figurines:
Statue of D. Alfonso Henrique:
Pavilion of Armies:
What brought me to this tiny museum was the unbelievable story of Anibal Augusto Milhais. The story resides in my head for many years. Milhais was a farmer, born on July 9, 1895.] On July 30, 1915, he was drafted into the Infantry of Bragança. In 1917 he was mobilized to join the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps. He arrived in France in the same year. The Portuguese soldiers often volunteered to infiltrate enemy lines and raid trenches, even if the casualties on both sides were extremely high. The participation of Portugal in World War I took place mostly in Flanders, which is in Belgium. On 9 April 1918. During "Operation Georgette", when the German Army attacked his division, Milhais stood up with his Lewis machine gun and defeated, almost single handedly, two German assaults by laying down intense fire, leaving hundreds of Germans dead. He managed to cover the retreat of Portuguese and Scots alike despite coming under heavy attack himself. He fired in all directions and stayed at his post until he ran out of ammunition. His bravery under severe circumstances managed to convince the Germans that they were up against a fortified unit rather than just a single Portuguese soldier with a machine gun.Finally, the Germans decided to go around and Milhais found himself alone in the rear of the enemy lines where he stayed for three days almost without eating or drinking. On the third day, Milhais, still carrying his Lewis machine gun, rescued a Scottish major from a swamp and the two reached Allied lines. Milhais was warmly welcomed, but being a modest man he did not say anything about his experiences. It was through the officer he had helped reporting the story to the British HQ and several other testimonies that his deeds become known. A few months later, Milhais again held back the Germans, standing alone with his Lewis gun and allowing a Belgian unit to retreat safely to a secondary trench without casualties. Both the British observers present in the scene and the Belgian commander included his action in their reports. Milhais was awarded the highest distinction of the Portuguese: the Order of the Sword and Tower and with the French Légion d'Honneur delivered on the battlefield before 15,000 allied soldiers. The bravery of Milhais in the battle of La Lys earned him the 4th Class of the Order of Tower and Sword of Value, Loyalty and Merit, the highest Portuguese decoration. The degree of "Knight of the Order of Military Tower and Sword" was created by Afonso V, later annulled, and later restored by King John VI, to reward "the value, the Loyalty and Merit". This person deserves far more than one picture in Europe museums ! Even in the Portuguese museum - the picture is displayed with no further information !
We leave the Military Museum and continue direst west to Avenida Rodrigues de Freitas. On the first cross-way turn LEFT to and walk down along Rua Duque Saldanha. A lot of houses with ceramic tiles, mainly, green ones:
In the end of this street you'll see the Colégio Salesianos Porto and a parking lot full with garbage and construction waste. Ignore the run-down sight around, walk forward (south) a few steps to get a marvelous sight of the Douro river with a couple of bridges: Maria Pia Ponte and Ponte de São João:
With your face south to the river - turn RIGHT (WEST) to the cobbled narrow road of Rua Gomes Freire. Here, starts a wonderful section of walking from east to west above the Douro river. I guess you will be the only tourist here. Pave your way forward among the pictorial houses:
Here and there you get a breathtaking glimpse, on your left, of the Douro river:
The criss-crossed fence will, partially, block your camera snaps - all along Rua Gomes Freire and, later (turn left), Alameda das Fontaínhas:
The Douro river from Alameda das Fontaínhas. The Metro line from Campanha to Sao Beneto pass downstairs:
Now, we arrive to the better section of Alameda das Fontaínhas without screening fences and with perfect sights of the Douro, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia - to the east and the west:
Ponte do Infante and the slums along the river:
We are still heading west along Alameda das Fontaínhas, now, approaching Ponte do Infante and walking underneath the bridge:
Here, Alameda das Fontaínhas changes to Passeio Fontaínhas. The run-down houses (now, it is the Se' parish of Porto) on our right and the wonderful Douro down, on our left:
Along Passeio Fontaínhas, in the Se' parish - you see more improved and elegant houses with red-bricked roofs. The wonderful Douro down, still on our left. The following photos are the sights you'll see, on your left, along Calçada das Carquejeiras - step by step:
In the middle of Passeio Fontaínhas, you see, on your left (south) stairs - Calçada das Carquejeiras - leading to a lower level near the river - to
Avenida de Gustavo Eiffel. DO NOT TAKE THESE STAIRS. Continue staying on a higher level over the Douro. Continue to Rua Sol:
Turn left to Rua Duque Loulé. Then continue to an empty space Largo Actor Dias (chemical WC). Here, you see the Ponte Luis I. The more you advance west along these roads the bridge becomes more impressive:
From Largo Actor Dias continue down along Rua Miradouro: pastoral, quaint and pictorial:
House # 61 in Rua Miradouro:
Along Rua Miradouro - you'll see the old walls of Porto:
Continue going down with the stairs - Escada dos Guindais. Raise your head to see what is waiting for you downstairs. The stairs Guindais border the Ribeira quarter and the area of the square of Batalha:
But the houses along Escada dos Guindais are nonetheless interesting with many hitoric houses around:
... and old fountains:
In the end of Escada dos Guindais - you arrive to the Funicular dos Guindais (on your right) which takes you from Ribeira (Av. Gustavo Eiffel) to Praca Batalha. One way - 2 euros. Open: 08.00 - 24.00. On your left is Ponte Luis I:
We walk a short distance in Avenida de Gustavo, pass under Ponte Luis I to Rua da Lada (one level over Rua de Cima do Muro). Look backward, again, to Cais da Ribeira, the house along the pier and Ponte Luis I:
Under the walls, on your right, there is a long stretch of large-scale Azulejos:
Walk until the end of Rua da Lada. On your right Rua dos Mercadores, BUT you continue direct in Rua Clube Fluvial Portuense, turn left to Rua São João - to arrive to Praça da Ribeira and Cais da Ribeira.
The Ribeira Square is the most picturesque spot in the city and the place everyone loves. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site. With photogenic traditional boats floating at the quayside overlooked by colorful ancient houses - you cannot resist the sight. In the center of the square is a bronze cube sculpture by José Rodrigues (nicknamed the Cubo da Ribeira) surrounded by café tables. The square is located in the historical district of Ribeira (riverside in Portuguese), part of the São Nicolau parish. The Ribeira district spreads alongside the Douro river and used to be a centre of intense commercial and manufacturing activity since the Middle Ages. Also since that time the Ribeira Square was the site of many shops that sold fish, bread, meat and other goods. In 1491 the buildings around the square were destroyed in a fire, and the houses were rebuilt with arcades in their ground floors. During this rebuilding campaign the square also gained a pavement made of stone slabs. In the mid-18th century the city needed new urban improvements to provide for the swift flow of goods and people between the Ribeira neighbourhood and other areas of Porto. In this context, governor João de Almada e Melo opened a new street, the São João Street, that connected the Ribeira Square and the upper town, and promoted the reurbanisation of the square itself. The project, executed between 1776 and 1782, is credited to John Whitehead, English consul in Porto. The square was to become enclosed on its north, west and east sides by buildings with arcades, while the south side of the square, facing the Douro, was enclosed by the medieval walls (Muralhas Fernandinas) of Porto. These walls were torned down in 1821, opening the square to the river:
The Cais da Ribeira is a romantic spot that comes alive as the sun sets, when the numerous cafés, bars and restaurants help bring up the nightlife in Cais Ribeira Porto area. Couples can be seen walking arm in arm along the water, enjoying the rhythm of the music coming from the bars and cafes and taking in the breeze coming off the waters. If you are lucky enough to be there for Saint John’s Day in June, you will be entertained by a must see fireworks display and a huge street party:
Further west is Cais Estiva:
Head west on Cais Estiva toward Largo do Terreiro. Turn right onto Largo do Terreiro. Turn left onto R. Alfândega. Just around the corner on Rua da Alfândega is "Casa do Infante" (or "House of the Prince"), where Prince Henry the Navigator was born in 1394. Over the years the building also served as the city's customs house, and now contains the city archives, including the document of Prince Henry's baptism, and other articles and manuscripts related to the history of Porto:
You can return, from here, to your hotel with a bus or walk 15-20 minutes to Sao Beneto Metro station. I recommend continuing, from here, the 1/2 day route of Matosinhos.