Café Guarany, Porto Portugal

My wife and I could be called foodies.  We enjoy a good meal and love to visit highly rated restaurants and eateries of all kinds.  We made a point, during our Portugal trip, to explore the many great foods and restaurants available.  Café Guarany was one of our stops.

Guarany Exterior

Located on Avenida dos Aliados, in the heart of Porto, Café Guarany has been a popular gathering place for Portuenses since 1933.  It’s a beautiful restaurant.Named for a Brazilian indigenous people,   Renovated in 2003, the interior’s centerpiece are two paintings, “The Lords of Amazonia” by University of Porto alum Graça Morais.

Cafe Guarany

We had a wonderful breakfast at Guarany.  Ann Marie had the ubiquitous tosta mista, which is basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  The tosta mista is very tasty and we had several of these during our Portugal trip.  We had a version of it in Coimbra with grilled chicken which was very good as well.

I ordered a crepe Alaska.  I completely missed that it had a scoop of ice cream on top.  Ice cream for breakfast?  Yep, and it worked.  The crepe was great, pineapple, berries, whipped cream and an orange slice, and a scoop of tangerine ice cream to top it off.  It was really good and the tangerine ice cream was a nice touch.

Tosta Mista and Ice Cream

Later we decided to stop in again for dessert, port and coffee. On the way there, the bus stopped and the driver said that something was happening ahead and that we would all have to to exit the bus and walk to another stop.  We were just a short walk from the restaurant so we set out on foot.

We were at the restaurant before the dinner crowd so we had a nice leisurely dessert, accompanied by a glass of port and a coffee.  While we were enjoying our meal, we noticed a policeman just outside the door, putting a police border across the road.  Soon, a crowd began to gather and a news crew showed up.  We watched with interest as we ate.  I took this photo once we were done and had left Guarany.  It was taken no more than 20 feet from the front door of the restaurant.

Bomb Scare

We made our way back to our hotel and followed the drama on the local television news.  I’ve been learning the Portuguese language for a few months and we were able to understand that an unidentified black automobile was found abandoned on Avenida dos Aliados.  Fearing that there could be a bomb in the vehicle, the police had cordoned the area off and had brought in the bomb squad.  The news showed, in an endless loop, two policemen releasing a bomb sniffing dog to investigate the car as they watched, crouching behind the monument to Dom Pedro IV for protection against the potential blast.

About three hours later, the drama came to an end.  Someone had finally thought to run the tags and contact the car’s owner.  Apparently the car had stopped running and the owner simply left it there and took the bus home.  The car was towed and the story was over.  The event added an interesting and unique memory of our trip to Portugal.

 

Great Hall of Acts, Coimbra University

The Great Hall of Acts is arguably the most important space at the University of Coimbra.  Once the Throne Room when the University was the Royal Palace, this room was where all the Portuguese kings of the First Dynasty lived and was where John I was proclaimed King of Portugal in 1385.

Today, the room is where Doctoral candidates face their PhD. thesis defense, a formal oral examination required to obtain the degree of Doctor.  Other ceremonies taking place in the Great Hall of Acts are the Official Opening of the School Year, the Investiture of the Rector, and the awarding of honorary degrees.

The large paintings hung around the room are portraits of the kings of Portugal, beginning with Dom Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal.  Interestingly, there’s a 60 year gap in the chronology.  The kings who ruled during the Iberian Union, Philip II, Philip III and Philip IV, are not included in the room.  During this period, Portugal was under Spanish control and, 400 years later, this is still a sore spot with the Portuguese people.  Hence, the omission of the three kings.

There are many beautiful spaces in the old University.  A tour of Coimbra University is a required stop on any visit to Coimbra.  It’s well worth the time.Great Hall

 

Monument to Pope John Paul II, Braga

Braga is the oldest city in Portugal, with a history going back to pre-Roman times.  It’s not exactly where you’d expect to find a modern art sculpture in the middle of the city.  Yet, there it is.  The Monumento ao Santo Papa João Paulo II was created by Portuguese sculptor Zulmiro de Carvalho and architect Domingos Tavares to commemorate the Pope’s 1982 visit to Braga.

The shape of the monument is reminiscent of the mitre, the tall pointed ceremonial hat worn by the Pope.  According to one website, the three points of the sculpture represent the three great mountain top sanctuaries of Braga- Bom Jesus do Monte, Santuário do Sameiro and Igreja de Santa Maria Madalena.

The sculpture is a beautiful monument to the Pope’s historic visit, and one of the many monuments celebrating Braga’s reputation as the religious heart of Portugal.

John Paul II Monument

Praça da Republica, Braga

The Praça da Republica Square is considered by many to be the heart of Braga.  Located at the north end of Avenida da Liberdade, the square was the trading center in sixteenth century Braga.  Today it’s a great place to start your tour of Braga.

The Arcada, as it’s popularly called, is home to two excellent cafes, both over 100 years old, Cafe Vianna and Cafe Astoria.  We chose to have breakfast at Café Vianna.  In operation for over 150 years, the café is supposedly where the 28 May 1926 coup d’etat began.  Portuguese novelists Eça de Queriós and Camilo Castelo Branco are said to have been visitors to the café during its long history.

The view from Cafe Vianna is spectacular.  You look past the Praça da Republica fountain, across Jardim da Avenida Central, all the way to Bom Jesus do Monte, 5 kilometers away.  The cafe is also a great place for people watching; there are always crowds of people passing by.

This view of Praça da Republica was taken from the Jardim da Avenida.  You can see the Braga Tower, the last remnant of the castle, behind the Arcada.

There are so many things to see and do in Braga and it’s nice to have a central point where you can sit and relax while catching your breath and enjoying a drink.  For us, Praça da Republica was that place.

Braga Arcada

University of Coimbra, Portugal

The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in the world.  Once the royal palace, the Velha Universidade, or Old University, is the oldest part of the school and is a beautiful place.  We were able to tour the university, starting with the Joanine Library, and working our way through the buildings.  If you visit Coimbra, the Old University is a required stop on your journey.

This photo is from the wide Paço das Escolas, the main square of the Old University.  On the left is the famous bell tower and straight ahead is the Via Latina, which is the entrance to the part of the University that was the royal palace.  As beautiful as the exterior is, the interior is stunning.  The Joanine Library, the Capela de São Miquel, and the Sala dos Capelos are just three of the many beautiful spaces in the Old University.

University

Rossio Square, Lisbon

Rossio Square has been a major gathering point in Lisbon for centuries.  Officially named Praça de D. Pedro IV, the square was virtually destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, fire, and tsunami that devastated Lisbon.  Marques de Pombal, the famed statesman who took control of the recovery and rebuilding of Lisbon after the earthquake, had a city plan developed.  At the center of the plan was a rebuilt Rossio Square, connected to Praça do Comércio by two straight streets, Áurea and Augusta Streets.  This area became known as the Pombaline Downtown.

I like this photo because you see the beautiful calçada portuguesa, the patterned pavement of the square, as well as catching a glimpse of two of two major landmarks of the area, the Santa Justa Lift and the Carmo Convent.

Rossio Square

Staircase, University of Coimbra

I tend to be a bit odd when visiting places.  It’s not always the usual touristy things that catch my eye.  Sometimes it’s interesting patterns or spaces that intrigue me.  This staircase is an example.

There’s so much about this space that I like.  I love the curve of the ceiling at the top of the stairs.  I like the way the light comes through the window at the top and highlights the roughness of the walls.  I like the way the stairs curve to the right as they rise.  And I like the contrast between the simplicity of the walls against the colorful patterns of the azulejos.

And all of this from just a simple staircase at the University of Coimbra.

University of Coimbra Staircase

Rossio Square, Lisbon

Lisbon is a beautiful city and the people of the city enjoy the many outdoor spaces scattered throughout Lisbon. Rossio Square has been one of the major squares and gathering places in Lisbon for centuries.

This photo of Rossio Square was taken from the Santa Justa Lift just before sunset.  I used a graduated filter to color the otherwise grey clouds a bit.  I like the way the touch of color in the sky ties in so well with the red roofs of the buildings.

Rossio Square

Lisbon Cathedral

The Cathedral of Lisbon has been a major part of the city since the 12th century.  It has undergone many changes over the centuries and was seriously damaged in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.  After the earthquake and accompanying fires, the Cathedral underwent a major reconstruction.  What you see today was the result of this reconstruction.

I took this photo from atop the Santa Justa Lift.  I love the colors of the buildings around the Cathedral and the way the Cathedral stands watch over the city.

I loved our time in Lisbon and, if we’re ever able to move to Portugal, I look forward to spending many days exploring this great city.

Lisbon Cathedral

Aveiro’s Moliceiros

Aveiro has been called the Venice of Portugal because of its canals and the colorful moliceiro boats that carry tourists along the canals.

Moliceiros are long open boats that were originally used to collect seaweed.  The brightly colored boats are right at home on Aveiro’s canals, and fit nicely in a city where Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings are everywhere.

It was raining on our first day in Aveiro, but that didn’t keep us from exploring the city.  One thing the inclement weather did do was cut down on the number of people wandering along the canals, so we pretty much had the area to ourselves.

All the moliceiros were docked when we walked by, but the next day the weather was much nicer so they were back to carrying tourists up and down the canals.

Moliceiros