The United States won agreement ... in Porto, Portugal (S.Hrg.108-19)
Portugal is famous for wine, but after five days of biking, I was craving some beer instead. So shortly after I was dropped off at my guesthouse in Porto, I headed out to explore the local craft-beer scene. That first night, I visited the most mass-market watering hole, Nortada Brewery, where I downed a thirst-quenching IPA (left). At the more intimate Fabrica Picaria, I enjoyed two happy-hour half-pints: Black Weiss and Golden Brown (right).
Throughout the next couple of days I hit a bunch of beer spots. At Armazem, I enjoyed a Colina IPA from Duque Brewery (top left). The low-key bottle shop is right around the corner from Letraria, which has a lovely, leafy garden, where I had a flight of pilsner, weiss, red ale, IPA, dark Belgian, and stout (top right). However, the hottest ticket in town was definitely Catraio Beer Shop, where I fashioned my own flight: a berliner weisse from Sori Brewing, a maibock from Post Scriptum Brewery, a juicy IPA from Letra, and an amber ale from Sovina Brewery (bottom left). The offerings at Carmo Craft Beer House weren't so extensive -- I had Lindinha Lucas Brewery's IPA -- but the view of Carmo Cathedral across the street was exquisite (bottom right).azuelos. The blue tiles can be found on many famous buildings, including Sao Bento Station (top left). It's easy to see why the train hub is a source of pride for Porto residents (top right). But if they're going to brag about the azuelos, locals point you to the Church of Saint Ildefonso (bottom left) and the Chapel of Souls (bottom right).
Livraria Lello inspired J.K. Rowling's descriptions of Hogwarts (top left). As a result, the city has become the destination of choice for Potter-themed stag and hen parties (top right). The more classy set can enjoy champagne or coffee at Majestic Cafe, which could easily fool you into thinking you were in Paris (bottom left). But then blocks away, there's a general-goods store that seems to be from Main Street U.S.A. (bottom right).
Porto pulls its street props straight out of central casting as well. The traditional trams are beautiful both outside (top left) and inside (top right). They get pretty packed by sightseers taking the riverside line to the coast. Luckily, I beat the rush, so the lighthouse seawall was sparsely touristed (middle left). The banks by the marina, however, were full of net-mending fisherman recovering from their morning outings (middle right) and coffee-drinking youths recovering from the night before (bottom).
I suspect the post-partiers go downriver to escape the crowds in the central old city, which is known for its cotton-candy houses clinging above the river (top). They are stunning close-up, but I preferred to take in the whole waterfront from the Luis Bridge, whose two levels provide great views of both the downtown Ribeira district (bottom left) and as well as Vila Nova de Gaia city on the opposite bank (bottom right).
That area, not actually part of Porto municipality, is home to the port houses whose cellars attract wine aficionados. Tourists are enticed in by the rabelos anchored outside the port producers, which number in the double digits (top). Not knowing how to choose, I went on the recommendation of my guesthouse owner, who pointed me to Calem due to its small museum (middle left), which is free as part of an entertaining and informative tour (middle right). The tour concludes with a tasting of three ports: white, 10-year tawny, and late bottled vintage (bottom left). At Ramos Pinto, I was too late for a tour, but it still offered reasonably priced flights. I opted for one that had the same three types as Calem, plus a 20-year tawny and a collector's reserve (bottom right).
With the amount of free-flowing alcohol, it's no surprise that the Portuguese offer filling food to soak it all up. I couldn't pass up a snack of fresh-from-the-oven Pasteis de Nata from Manteigaria (top left), even though one of the tasty tarts, authentically prepared at a bakery around the corner, was included with each breakfast at Sao Luis Guesthouse (top right). Also a short walk from the guesthouse was Casa Guedes, a working-class institution that serves delicious pork-knuckle sandwiches from a busy lunch counter (bottom left). Before my port tastings, I headed to Brasao, so I could build a good base with the local specialty francesinha, which I tried to wash down with Sovina's IPA but couldn't fully finish (bottom right).
Luckily, hilly Porto gives you many opportunities to walk off the calories. Unfortunately, many of those strolls take you past gelato stands that are hard to pass up (top left). I did manage to resist the gourmet food-hall dishes at Mercado Beira Rio (top right) and the raw market-stall offerings at Mercado de Sao Sebastiao (middle top left). The fish stands are adjacent to the city's main cathedral, whose entrance is guarded by a statue of Vimara Peres, the first ruler of Portugal (middle top right). The church is one of the main tourist sites in Porto, along with Clerigos Tower (middle bottom left). I skipped waiting in the two-hour line to climb to the top, opting to gaze upon it and the Town Hall's bell tower instead (middle bottom right). To be sure, the best part of my walking was finding a back street with nary a tourist in sight (bottom).
Source: diplomatic impunity