What a lovely morning it has been here in Porto! We could definitely get used to this! After a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, we headed out in search of the tower we’d seen from across town yesterday.
One of the highest towers in all of Portugal, it served two purposes: as a church bell tower, and to help guide the ships coming up the river into the city. Amazingly enough, the tower is actually quite some distance from the river itself – perhaps a mile inland is our best guess! But it’s tall enough that from the top, we could see all the way out to the ocean.
It is attached to a very small church which wasn’t created until 1707, pretty late by many European standards. Called the Brotherhood of Clergy, it was created when 3 even smaller groups joined together to combine resources and consists primarily of a pink marble sanctuary, seen in the picture, and a few storage rooms. The Brotherhood’s focus was on supporting even smaller, poorer clergy members and churches around the country, so they didn’t need a huge church to work from.
After touring the church, we headed slightly north to find the Liberia Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal.
Covered in ornately carved wood, brightly painted supports, and a stained glass ceiling, this bookstore is now famous for an additional reason: this was one of the inspirations for the Harry Potter series! There is a 3 euro charge to get in, but since it is also still a functioning bookstore, they take the price of admission off any books or gifts you decide to buy. They have books in several languages, and we walked out with purchases in French, Spanish, and English.
Finally it was time for lunch! We tried another Portuguese classic, a sandwich called a francesinha.
This is a huge sandwich made up of ham, sausage, beef, at least two layers of cheese, and an egg all on thick Portuguese bread which is then topped off with a tomato based sauce and French fries. It reminds us somewhat of the American tradition of serving grilled cheese with tomato soup, only much heartier. It’s delicious! But even though we were both pretty hungry when we sat down, there was no way we were going to get through the entire dish. It definitely filled us up fast; we’re well fueled for our afternoon adventures!