From there we headed across to Porto and Portugal via the Douro River valley. The road was very windy and snaked up and down the steep valley sides. We ended up in the clouds and in rain so we headed for the motorway and into the complete maze that is the old city of Porto, a combination of steep one way cobble stone streets and pedestrian ways.
The UNESCO World Heritage area is fascinating but looking a bit sad, maybe it is just the time of year? The historic riverside precinct is an eye opener, both awe inspiring and dilapidated all in one, and one wonders what the future is for this incredible part of the city, which appears to be only a shadow of its former self. Never have I seen so many ancient buildings empty and in disrepair, falling down, but still up. I am naïve to Portuguese history, and in fact the only Portuguese word I knew before we crossed the border yesterday was Obrigado, and this is still the only word I know. It is strange to be in a country one knows nothing about. There seem to be quite a few people living on the streets in the tourist areas, some try and make it by directing traffic into parking spots, or helping people out of parking spots, for this they get a few coins and purchase something of what they might want. There are crazy people about the place, reciting incantations, talking to themselves. There was a fracas down on the quayside, first there was one police car, then two, then three, then a van with a small riot squad. After more than half an hour it appeared to resolve itself amicably and the giant of a man they were trying to wrestle into the police car walked away free. We had an excellent walk up the valley side amongst ancient cobbled laneways, past a myriad of port cellars up the hillside, plus quite a few port tasting rooms, to emerge on the top deck of the amazing Pont de Luis I for an incredible view of the city and the river.