Weather Report By Ice The Dog: It’s Too Hot For A Cone

Ice the Dog

Much to his great disappointment, Ice wasn’t de-coned on Monday as planned, he was ordered to wear it two more days. We felt badly for him, but it had to be done — his bits weren’t quite healed up yet from his surgery. Of course, these days have been the hottest of 2015 so far: temperatures reached 32C today by Porto Airport (where we live), and his bursts of high-octane playful energy while outside end abruptly with a flop in the grass under the trees, to pant in the shade.

As of late this afternoon, the vet declared Ice fit for freedom from the tyranny of the cone. And aside from being slightly overheated, I am pleased to report the pooch is back to his normal, happy, cone-free self.

Ice the Dog

Ice the Dog

May 26, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]

Porto’s Café Majestic

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal) (2)

If you follow the tourist guidebooks, most — if not all — point to Café Majestic as a place not to miss while in Porto. Whether or not you will agree depends upon a few things, including your demographic, architectural taste, and budget.

http://www.cafemajestic.com/

As you can see by the pictures, the clientele skews to the older set (of which I’m a card-carrying member these days; this is not a dig!), most patrons are tourists rather than locals, and it feels more like a retro French Bistro. None of these details is a negative in of itself, but if you’re looking for authentic Porto, this would be like sending you to a café in Paris that serves Portuguese coffee… Paris has plenty of Portuguese emigrants but it’s not Portugal. In Porto, you won’t find many locals frequenting Café Majestic.

From what I’ve heard the food at Majestic is good but I couldn’t help but notice that their francesinhas are €20, surely the most expensive in the city. Last week I visited with the Vancouver friends, and there they had their first taste of Pasteís de Belém, which to my recollection didn’t invoke the same flavour sensation as it did in Lisbon but maybe my recollection needs an update.

The prices at Majestic are reflected in the level of service, the ambiance, and the menu, and if you’ve been to the Guarany Café you may experience some déjà vu  — they were both restored by the same owner and similar in age (almost 100 years). Either of these historic café’s are worthy indulgences, if you’re in the mood for high tea in Majestic-branded porcelain under chandeliers. The architecture is Belle Epoque and will take you back in time to a bygone era, before any world wars or the RMS Titanic. The ornate ceilings, the replica chairs and tables, the renovation’s attention to detail — it is all impressive. But if you’re just looking for a Portuguese coffee fix without the uniformed wait staff and Belgian mirrors, I recommend any of the quality establishments around the city of Porto. No TripAdvisor needed, you can find them with your eyes closed.

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal)

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal)

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal) (4)

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal) (5)

Café Majestic (Porto, Portugal) (6)

May 20, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]

Porto’s Museu de Arte Sacra e Arqueologia (Preview)

Museu de Arte Sacra e Arqueologia, Porto

The Sacred Art and Archaeology Museum near Porto Cathedral is one of those buildings I’ve passed by often without a photograph to show for it, until yesterday. (Climbing many stairs to reach the museum might have something to do with the lack of photography.) I’ve marked it a preview for now because I haven’t made a proper visit or taken any interior shots. Until then, you can browse the museum’s Facebook page or their Visit Porto page for more information.

Museu de Arte Sacra e Arqueologia, Porto

May 24, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]

XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia (Preview)

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

Our Seattle visitors arrived today and their first cultural experience in the north of Portugal was immediately after: Festival da Primavera (Festival of Spring) in Moreira da Maia. I have plenty of images as usual, but here’s just a few for now plus a video clip while we continue our touring.

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

In this video I’m far away because standing close to the speakers distorts the music and singing. More photos to come, to better show the traditional clothing.

XXV Festival da Primavera, dia 24 de Maio em Moreira da Maia

XXV Festival da Primavera, dia 24 de Maio em Moreira da Maia

May 24, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]

Ribeira, Porto

Ribeira (Porto, Portugal)

I’m on a one-day break from guiding friends around Porto; two friends left yesterday and two more friends arrive tomorrow. I was asked if I ever get tired of taking people around and my honest answer is no, because Porto is such an interesting city. The more I discover, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn about it. Also, the more I photograph it and learn its history, the more emotionally attached I am to this city and its future. I really do consider myself an immigrant rather than an expat, even though I call myself an expat with no plans to leave.

So, if you’re wondering whether to ask me about Porto, fire away! I’m happy to field questions regarding tourism, cost of living, culture, or practical issues, eg., if taxis accept credit cards or which supermarkets are wheelchair-friendly. Whatever I don’t know, I can find out.

May 21, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]