Porto & Pumps

Sorry for the pause.  I don’t like surprises, so having a few mechanical problems with my blog this week has been a pain in the ___, but I’m back.


Talking of surprises, I love spoiling my husband with a surprise or two.


The boy’s 50th birthday in September, was not going to be a big affair.  I get it, some people love being centre of attention and others absolutely loathe it.  We both love going to parties, but never want the party to be about us.


So I knew not to get him a surprise party for this special occasion.  That said, I couldn’t bear the idea of being at home with a TV dinner on a day that really should be marked.


So I planned a trip away, only telling SP we were going to Cornwall three weeks before the actual date, so that I could make sure he wasn’t working for the 48 hours that we would actually be in Porto.


You should have seen his face when I pulled into the airport instead of driving straight past it! A picture. With 48 hours of fun ahead, we merrily dropped off the car and headed for the bar.


Porto had been on our to do list since it was spotted in a copy of Lonely Planet a while back and the trip was a perfect fit, with an evening flight time the day before Steve’s birthday and 48 hours to explore before returning home.  This meant we only lost two day’s work – SP is boringly committed to it.


The forecasters said it would be in the early twenties, offering a welcome injection of Vitamin D before Autumn really sets in at home.  What’s not to love.


Hugging the North West coast of Portugal, Porto is the second largest city in the country and actually not that far (by train) from Lisbon.  With more time, you could/should probably try and do both.


No surprise here, but it’s known for its port production – we found that our favourite style is Tawny.  We also found that we could consume quite a bit of it!


We stayed close to the historical centre of Porto, The Ribeira.  Classed as World Heritage by UNESCO, this attractive area was our playground for 48 hours and with the Douro river running through it, offering the city one of its most popular photographic opportunities, it was a beautiful setting fit for a birthday ‘retreat’.


For a change, instead of me going on, I’ve asked the birthday boy to answer a few short questions to help tell you more about our trip.


What three words best describe our trip?

Interesting, fun, sunny


How would you describe Porto to someone who hasn’t been?

It’s a great place for a city break


What did you enjoy most about Porto?

I liked the Six Bridges Boat Cruise (caught on the harbour, takes 50 mins and costs about 15 euros per person).  Oh, and the port-tasting.


Was two days enough?

Yeah, it was a buzzing whistle-stop tour, but you could add on an enjoy an extra day.


What would you do with an extra day?

Gone to the football ground (GP – I made the right choice!)


What are the must-do activities in Porto?

Cable car and river cruise


One lasting memory from your trip?

The fog coming off the Douro.  One morning it was beautiful sunshine, the next pea soup.


What would you give Porto out of five?

Four, it lost a point for the food.  We didn’t really like the food choice that much, apart from the (custard) tarts, which were delicious.


Some snaps


















Pretty isn’t it?


As with many mini breaks and holidays you are constantly on your feet, trying to see as much as you can and I was so glad that I  had taken my Adidas Mrs Stan Smiths.  I took a bunch of clothes with me, but I ended up wearing two maxi dresses day into evening.  I felt comfortable, not just on my feet, but in my clothes, and the dresses made sure I was out of jeans for once.


I have on many occasion taken new shoes or heels on holiday (what an idiot) only to be a thorn in SP’s side when we’ve had to stop and search for somewhere to buy pain killers, plasters and flip flops, but I think I’m over it now.


We are packing for our next trip as I finish this post and I have purchased a pair of slip on platforms from Dune, see below. It’s okay, I’ve been wearing them around the house and they’re like slippers. I will, of course, be taking my Adidas, and maybe one pair of boots for the evening.


I bet the boots stay in the suitcase! Here’s some more ideas for great pumps, trainers, kicks, whatever you like to call em. All I know, every grown up woman should have ’em.

Til next time.

Gail xx






  1. October 20, 2017 / 11:35 am

    What a lovely surprise! Friends of me have been to Porto a few weeks ago so I already saw the beautiful pictures. My hubby is turning 50 next month and I bought tickets for Depeche Mode in Amsterdam with a night in a hotel! He doesn’t know about that!

    • gailpainter
      October 24, 2017 / 10:07 am

      Depeche Mode will be ace!

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