jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 17 [15 Feb 09] – London to Porto

Posted in London, Porto by jn82 on February 16, 2009

The trip from London city to Gatwick started badly when we missed the 10am shuttle bus from Victoria Station. Well we did not know that they had a once per hour frequency anyway. So instead of paying £7 for the 90 minute bus ride, we had to pay £17 for an express train which took 30 minutes only. No choice really as the 11am bus would have made us only barely in time to board the flight.

The very expensive Gatwick Express.

Gatwick Express

Inside. Normal train carriage.


After taking our seats and once the train started moving, I started to talk to the guy beside me and found out we were taking the same flight. After a while the guy opposite him started talking to us. It turned out that the guy sitting opposite was a sculptor, and had done a bit of work in Singapore including a massive statue at The New Majestic Hotel and the Botanic Gardens. Only after reaching Porto and googling for the statue did we realise he was a very famous sculptor Zadok Ben-David.

The flight to Porto was pretty uneventful, and lasted a total of around 1 hour and 40 minutes. We flew by TAP (the national airline or Portugal and also a Star Alliance member) on an Airbus 737-200.

CS-TNN “Gil Vicente”, an A732,  today taking us to Porto as TP333.


Getting to the hostel from the airport was very easy, and we jumped on a light rail metro system and reached the designated stop in around twenty five minutes. The “hostel” was actually a small hotel, much to our surprise, considering the €26 (S$52) for a twin ensuite we are payinga night (picture tomorrow).

After dumping the bags and resting for a bit, we decided to use the remainder of the time that the sun was up for to explore the area around the Ribeira district, a water front area in the city centre facing the Douro River. The first (and only) sightseeing stop was on the Dom Luís 1st Bridge (Ponte Dom Luís I). This is an arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. On the top of the bridge, only the light rail metro passes on two sets of tracks, while cars and pedestrians use the lower part of the bridge. The view from the top of the bridge is amazing, and you get a bird’s eye view of the Douro and Ribeira district.

Amazing views from the bridge.

Bridge View

Bridge View

Bridge View


Once the sun went down, we decided to have dinner along the Ribeira although it would be more expensive (think Boat Quay dining). Being in Porto, of couse we would have a seafood option, so we both had cod prepared in what I think was pan-fried, and tons of potatoes.

Pan-fried Cod.


The night time view of Ponte Dom Luís I.

Night View

Link to full gallery of today’s pictures here.


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