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4:56pm on Saturday, 9th July, 2016:



Today, we docked in Oporto, Portugal. Oporto has been on my radar for some time as a place that might be worth visiting, so I was keen to see it. It didn't disappoint.

The city is divided in two: the lower town, by the river, and the upper town. The lower town is old and picturesque; the upper town is more modern.

I was expecting this to be a wealthy town, given how many tourists visit. However, even in the pretty, riverside houses people hang out washing to dry. Also, close-up a lot of the buildings look run-down, especially on the slopes between the lower and upper towns. Some are out-and-out derelict. This, for example, is what awaits at a site that offers a peach of a panoramic view near where the tourist buses disgorge their passengers:

The staircases connecting the upper and lower towns are very seedy in places. The neighbourhoods don't feel dangerous, just poor. I don't know what the reason is (maybe the place is only alive during summer?), but it did surprise me. This is the kind of beautiful property that I'd expect rich foreigners to snap up and renovate as holiday homes.

I'm glad we won't be here tomorrow when the final of the European Championships are taking place, as I'd rather prefer France to win (I don't like Ronaldo).

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Copyright © 2016 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).