I walked through the downtown Porto neighborhood called Cedofeita in search of the Rosa et Al Townhouse, a boutique hotel and the second co-sponsor of this trip giveaway. When I arrived at the address my first impression was of the building façade. To me it appeared very discreet and nothing special. It gave absolutely no hint as to the beautiful interior I was about to see once I opened that white metal front door and entered.
There is a little private garden in the rear of the hotel where Fran and Darren waited for me. You could call it a small oasis of greenery in the middle of the city! Hotel guests can enjoy their morning coffee or a meal here, read a book, or play a game of cards, weather permitting of course. I noticed the table tops featured inlaid azulejos which are the typical Portuguese white and blue ceramic tiles.
After our greeting, I could feel the couple's excitement to finally be in Porto after so much anticipation. The first thing they told me was how delighted they were with the Rosa et Al Townhouse and their guest room and private bathroom.
As visitors from the UK, Fran and Darren represent the 5th largest group of foreign travelers choosing Portugal for vacation escapes, according to the local tourism bureau.
Here is a fun bit of trivia: did you know that "Harry Potter" book series author JK Rowling lived in Porto for two years back in the early '90s? (She taught English to support herself.) .
They also planned a visit to The Galleries to indulge in Porto's night life, a river cruise to see Porto's famous six bridges, and a game of miniature golf in the Foz neighborhood.
“Everyone has been so friendly, and we have found it is very easy to get around with just English” said Fran. Then she remarked with a smile, “But no one told us about the hills!” Whoops!
Which were their favorite places? Turns out one was a cave-like "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant (but with a piano at the entrance, go figure). They loved the double layered slow-roasted pork sandwich, the kind that melts in your mouth. They were also intrigued by a little square where you find a street bordered on either end by two historical statues. This particular street has no official name so the locals have taken it upon themselves to give it one: “The Street Between Two Bums!" That’s Portuguese humor for you.
Four days was just not enough time to see and do everything on their list, so the couple already plans a return trip to Porto sometime in the near future. The next visit will likely include a cable car ride, a port wine tasting, and a visit to Piscina das Marés (a popular attraction situated by the Atlantic Ocean featuring saltwater swimming pools that are fed by the tides).
Rosa et Al Townhouse, Rua do Rosário 231/233, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal rosaetal.pt
Taste Porto firstname.lastname@example.org tasteporto.com
Visit Porto & Northern Portugal (Official Travel Bureau) visitportoandnorth.travel
Shahnaz Radjy is a writer based in Portugal and the co-founder of an ecotourism project. She describes herself as an adventurer, foodie, bookworm, and horse lover. You can read more about Shahnaz on her blog Farmaventure and follow her on Twitter @sradjy.
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