Our last afternoon in Porto. We decided to just let our feet take us around Porto.
Dark rain clouds were looming so we wore our rain jackets. It was also very cold.
We came across a market selling local wares and this is where the rain started falling.
Porto is very hilly with most streets with cobblestones. With all the rain these stones can be extremely slippery. We walked carefully as we saw many slip and fall. Hint: don’t run on the cobblestones, especially going downhill.
For a reprieve from the rain we walked along the pathway under the bridge. It stank but for a short time it was nice to get out of the rain.
We were going to head over to Vila Nova de Gaia across the bridge however it was packed with hundreds of umbrella’s. We were wet through so decided we would make our way back to the ship.
The Ponte Luis Bridge was inaugurated on the 31st October 1886. The bridge is built of two metal trays supported by a great iron arch and five piers with a maximum span of around 391.25m
In 1809 a terrible tragedy happened when the Ponte das Barcas bridge collapsed under the weight of people fleeing the French troops of Soult. Over 4,000 (some pages say 6,000) people drowned in this disaster.
This was the invasion of Napoleonic troops in Portugal under Marshal Soult is still vividly remembered in Porto. This happened a day after the French Victory of Porto.
The French army was rooted out of Porto by Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley in the Second Battle of Porto, when his troops crossed the Douro river from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (a former convent) in a brilliant daylight coup de main.
Ponte das Barcas means Bridge of Boats. The bridge was made of 20 boats standing side by side and attached with steal cables. Although other Bridges of Boats were made in the past, this one was built to be more durable and was able to open in two parts, to let the boats navigate on the Douro river.
This year was the 210th anniversary of this tragedy. Even to this day some people come and light candles or flowers in memory of the loss of life.
We made our way back to the ship via narrow lane ways. These were less crowded so that meant less umbrellas to look out for.
After a hot shower and change of clothes (we left our wet clothes on the balcony to hopefully dry ) we headed back up to the lounge. A few drinks before our last dinner on board our floating 5-6 star hotel.
Tomorrow we would begin the 11 day coach tour of Portugal and Spain.