Saturday, 29 November 2014

Great Continental Railway Journeys: La Coruna to Lisbon

Look, I know, this is getting out of hand. But he keeps going to places I have been.

I'll spare you the Portillo stuff this time. I won't even mention this week's jacket or what he did to a custard tart. Instead, I will magically remove some sickening letters from his name and end up in Porto, which was visited halfway through this programme. My cousin lives there with his lovely Polish wife and many cats, and we went to visit them for a long weekend - gosh, nearly ten years ago now. It was an easy break - still living in London then, we could make the most of direct flights with Ryanair from Stansted.

We saw the railway station and the churches with their fantastic arrays of blue and white tiles. We ambled down the steep and winding cobbled streets of red-rooved houses with sheets of washing flung over the balconies, sidestepping several consignments of dog faeces in an otherwise never ending parade of lovely views. We ended up at the Douro river with its splendid bridges (the Ponte Luis I alas covered in scaffolding at that time) and barges stacked with port barrels. We sat in the bars and restaurants on the quayside eating rustic meals of salt cod and sow ear stews. And drinking port. Oh, yes, lots of port. Port on the water, port with a view, port on a boat, port in a port lodge or five, port at home. White, ruby, tawny, vintage, ancient. You name it, we tried it. We had excellent hosts.

Parts of our visit are consequently a bit of a blur.

A few bottles for the weekend

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