Ineffable Wanderlust: Faodail: A lucky find.
Do you remember when you set a step outside your comfort zone? Do you recall the feeling you have when your plane landed on an airport you never have been before? The destination you never travelled to before? I do. This time we went to Porto in Portugal. Although I have visited the Algarve and Lisboa Costa several times before, Porto was my 1st time. And well this was one of my lucky finds this time.
Every year my husband asks me the question: “Where do we want to go for our summer holiday?” And as soon as this question is asked I travel to all the beautiful destinations in my mind. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal. I wanted to go to Venice together with my husband. To let him see what I saw when I was there last September. But our plans changed to Porto. We both never been there before.
Travel Counsellor Arlette
We made reservations for our summer holiday through our personal Travel Counsellor Arlette. She know what the word customer service involves and she knows what we want. She is also in our world a Faodail. Our lucky find as a friend and second as a travel counsellor. We spent our nights in Grande Hotel do Porto: a charming hotel which maintains a dramatic, nineteenth-century, fin de siècle charm, harmoniously combined with modernity, comfort and timeless design.
A view on Porto from the Ponte Dom Louis I bridge. It’s a double deck metal arch bridge that spans the River Douro between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. It 172 metres span is the longest of its type in the world. It’s interesting that Gustav Eiffel presented a project for a new bridge one the Douro. But his design didn’t win this time. When it’s summer young men are jumping from the lower deck into the Douro.
Sao Bento Station
The 1st train arrived here in 1896. Around 20.000 magnificent tiles alluding to the history of transport and Portugal cover most of the atrium. They are the work of artist Jorge Colaço and date from 1916. It’s a beautiful place.
Open since 1906, Livraria Lello has housed men of arts and letters, has been the inspiration for acclaimed authors, a place for social gatherings, performances and a serene library for many of Invicta’s avid readers. Today it receives thousands of visitors from around the world, who everyday enter our doors to visit this neo-Gothic gem from the beginning of the twentieth century.
If we are ever going back: we need to be there before opening hours. So there will be a few people inside the book store. We need to buy a ticket in advance so we don’t have to wait in line.
Rumor has it that J.K. Rowling’s inspiration to write Harry Potter has begun in Porto, particularly at this library. The well-known writer lived in Porto for 10 years working as an English teacher in the early 1990s and she used to drink a cup of coffee at the second floor of Lello’s bookstore. There are indeed great similarities between Lello’s bookstore staircase and the one described in Hogwarts.
A few years ago we visited Sandeman Sherry in Jerez Spain. So it was logical to visit Sandeman Port in Porto. I loved the 20 years aged port. Sandeman is a brand founded in1790. Its well known logo features a caped man named Don dressed in a Portuguese student’s cape and a wide Spanish hat.
Of course I had to make a photo at sunset from Porto. It was cold that evening and we were early. But it was worth the wait.
For me Porto is one of my lucky find destinations. I really want to return and have some more time to take the photos I want.
Are you curious about Julie Anne’s Faodil? You can find her blogpost here. Julie Anne Skelton is a freelance photographer based in Guilford, Surrey, specialising in soulful, natural & beautiful photography.