Portugal

How Much We Can See in the Last Half Day of Porto?

Sorry to derail a little bit; got “distracted” by Iceland! One of my friends said I shouldn’t be allowed to go on the next trip without finishing the trip reports of the previous trip haha! Back to Porto…our last half day of Porto since our flight was at 4:20 pm, what have we not see yet? Palácio da Bolsa!!! This palace was the former Porto stock exchange building and you can only tour it by a guide. They have a set time of touring time that offered in different languages and each tour group is limited to a certain number of people. It opens at 9 am so we planned to go there when it opens to try our luck. But first, we headed to the famous Majestic Cafe where J. K. Rowling spent her time when writing the first Harry Potter book! The cafe was once the rich and royal’s social spot back in the days….you can definitely see why because of such lavish decors. Of course being a famous cafe, the price is very upscale as well. We decided “splurge” on our breakfast…..hum what are the least expensive items? We were seated and served by the waiter dressed in a tux, yea must be expensive!

I felt better that we paid for the photos inside the cafe! The carved wood and unique looking chandeliers reflected from those old mirrors definitely has a style to it.

I walked out to the “backyard” to check it out:

The cafe was a full house even for the prices it charged, I think majority of the customers are tourists to take photos 🙂

Those were our breakfast which cost €13.50:

The Pastel de nata weren’t as good and the toast was just okay. Jason ordered a hot chocolate which was very thick, literally melted chocolate! We never have any hot chocolate like this LOL!

After breakfast, we walked down to head to the palace and more street photos of Porto, how lovely the city is!

The next tour was fully booked so we had to wait for the following one at 11 pm. We sat there for almost an hour to wait for our tour……..hoped it is worth it! The admission was not too bad: €8. The tour guide walked us from room to room and explained some history or significance of those rooms….the building was the former stock exchange building so many meeting rooms!

The center of the palace was this huge glass “dome” but not in rounded shape; first time I seen dome in octagonal shaped instead of rounded!

The palace showcased once again the details and mix of colors in Portuguese architectures.

And tiles even on the floor!

I love that my favorite pink color is common in their buildings 🙂

Those two lamps weighted few tons and shipped from France!

Look at the details, unbelieveable!

The lamps are so cute!

The hallway ceiling…

A view of its center courtyard from the 2nd floor:

Another decision-making room!

And the paintings on the ceiling:

More ceilings….

Each room is absolute unique!

The wood on the floor is stacked like building blocks one piece by one piece!

Optical illusion….

“Save the best for last” the door to the most famous Arab Room!

Can’t imagine how many hours of craftsmanship to build this room!

In this trip, as I already said hundreds of times, I was amazed on Portuguese architectures!

After the 45 minutes or so tour, we ran back and hoping to have our last lunch at our favorite Tapa Bento but disappointingly, they were closed on Mondays! Backup plan, we walked to the back of our hotel where there is a good rating restaurant but it is also closed as well grrrr!!! We decided to get back to our hotel, collect our luggage, and headed straight to the airport and figure something out there. The airport has two cafes which are the same company Café Central and the food was airport quality and priced – we had two sandwiches that the bread was hard as a rock and a Fanta for $18. Our long flight to Malta with a stop at Madrid…when we landed Madrid and checked the screen it said the flight is delayed TBD….urg what? I went to the Iberia help desk and the agent said he has no idea on why the delay and asked me to just keep an eye on the screen! Without any estimate of how long it’ll delay, we made the long walk to the food court to get chicken McNuggest from McDonald’s cost €12.8 but at least it tasted decent and kept us full. After the order, we walked back and they changed the flight now back to be on time and at a different terminal what???? We ran and ran and made it to the gate and seen people running as well! Bad logistics!!! We arrived Malta at 11 pm and picked up by the arranged transfer through the apartment, the owner greeted us at the entrance of the house….finally, we reached Malta and exhausted…our dinner was cup noodle that I had prepared! Can’t wait to explore Malta!

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