Honeymoon commences! Flying Iberian on a 10 hour transatlantic flight was an experience. The food and service were nice, but the seats unfortunately left much to be desired. They were very close together and didn’t have nearly enough padding to be sitting in that type of seat for 10 hours. You have to love the Europeans for serving wine with the meal as a standard drink in addition to your water and soda. Landing in Madrid for a 6 hour, yes you read that correctly, 6 hour lay over was brutal. We left LAX in the evening, hoping to catch some sleep on the plane before landing in Madrid. No surprise here, the night shift worker, sleep messed up lady, person who can’t sleep on planes slept exactly 0 hours.
We landed in Madrid, which is one of the stranger airports I’ve ever been in. After a confused 20 minutes, we figured out where we needed to go. We were then able to get something to eat, walk around the entire terminal, then still had several hours to kill so we went to a quiet section, with many chairs, but as we could not lay across them because they had fixed arm rests, we laid on the floor. As nasty as it sounds, exhaustion wins in this round and I resort to sleeping on the cool stone floor in the warm airport terminal for a couple of minutes. I keep setting a timer because I am paranoid we will oversleep and miss our connecting flight. Finally our gate is announced and we are allowed to go to the correct gate. This 1.5 hour flight feels like the longest flight of my life because of the lack of sleep and pure exhaustion. We arrive in Portugal collect our luggage and are so relieved we pretty much run out of the airport to get a taxi and go to the hotel.
We are staying just 1 night in a hotel right next to the train so we could get up early and walk to the station to take the train to Porto in the morning. That bed was very firm and that was the best nights sleep I had in a long time. Navigating ourselves to the train station the next morning proved to be easy as it was just 3 blocks away. We were even able to take a couple of minutes to grab a cup of coffee and a couple of pastries.
Pastries and espresso across the street from the train station.
Finding the correct car and seat on said train proved to be more difficult feat. In the end we just boarded the train and ended up getting lucky we boarded in the correct car.
Views of the countryside from the train.
We arrived at the train station and grabbed a taxi to our Airbnb.
Our place was technically not in Porto, but on the other side of the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. Surprisingly I am glad we stayed there. We had a gorgeous view of the river and just down through the neighborhood was a row of restaurants right on the edge of the river.
Views from our Airbnb
We ate along the river almost everyday, and the days we didn’t we were either in the Duoro Valley port tasting (see subsequent post) or in Porto and grabbed something while walking around.
Espresso and views along the river
One of our first days, we had booked a Michelin star restaurant for lunch called Antiqvvm. The views from the dining room were spectacular and the food was great. Between Ethan and myself we shared an entire bottle of wine for lunch and that was not our smartest move when we were jet-lagged and tired and eating TINY Michelin star restaurant portions. The food was AMAZING and all in all was great for our first excursion in fine dining as neither one of us has ever been to a Michelin star restaurant.
This is the result of asking your husband to take a photo of you *eye roll*
Walking around Porto, I realized how much I really love old architecture and the old world feel with a modern twist. All of the buildings appeared to be several hundred years old, or have some historical significance behind them.
Looking around made me realize again how much history is out there that we (Ethan and I) haven’t had a chance to explore.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and stay tuned for the next installment.