Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Voyage Home

Because we (wisely) chose not to walk all the way to Finisterre, we had a couple of days to burn as well as an already planned 2 day layover in Paris - so our journey home was a vacation in and of itself.

We left Santiago on Tuesday morning by Bus for the town of Porto, Portugal. We had a rental in a private apartment that was very reasonably priced compared to the unexpectedly expensive tourist town of Porto. We called our host Miguel by Janine's phone and then passed the phone to cabbie so he could explain the strange drop-off point - which the cabbie promptly got wrong. But we made it anyway and Miguel gave us a good lay of the land after marching us to the second (third in U.S.) floor of a riverside apartment building (always the second floor it seems). We promptly began exploring the myriad of churches and tiled decorated buildings of the town from where Port gets its name.

One of the more interesting excursions was the Libreria Lello - a hundred year old bookstore that may (likely) have inspired the Hogwarts library (J.K. Rowling evidently taught English in Porto).

We watched the sun set from above the city as we chatted with two twenty-somethings (one Portuguese and the other Spanish) about their next travel destinations.

While Janine and I ate our fair share of Tostada y Marmalada on the Camino, whenever we found a proper Patisserie I was rarely disappointed in the quality or the value. We lucked into another such venue in Porto. After indulging in cafes and pastries, Janine and I took different paths - her to explore the gilded world of the Church of Saint Francis and I to simply wander the streets and see what trouble I might find - very little other than getting an opinion on the best local Port cellars - which is where we headed next.

The Ferreiro Cellar was one of the oldest of the dozen or so Port cellars on the other bank of Porto (technically the city of Gaia). We learned a tad about the process and got a taste of the white and the tawny. The ruby we would taste by chance on our walk home - at a pop-up vendor outside the cathedral at the top of the two-tier bridge that spans the river Douro.

The Francesinha sandwich is probably the most memorable food from the Portugal trip - a kind of meat laden grilled cheese ladled with a tomato sauce. They also eat a lot of fava beans which were delicious with bacon (as is everything).

Another long bus ride back to Santiago was required to catch our flight to Paris. We made use of the evening to see the cathedral one more time and strangely enough the Botafumiero swung again - We are 3-0 in this regard.

The Paris layover was simply required because of Santiago flights. We have both been several times but I was excited to get in for a day and walk through all of the amazing gardens. Janine spent a few hours at a Louvre exhibit related to Christian Dior. We are staying at a hotel by the airport which will work out pretty well for our morning flight.

I look forward to coming home - albeit the word home is a bit fluid right now.

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