Porto has a personality that is quite unlike any other city I’ve visited. Its grand past is ever present even if it feels as faded as Kris Kristofferson’s denims. Pristine buildings front alleys where you might expect to encounter ladies of the night wearing cleavage rich bustiers and with scarlet plumes in their beehive hair or even down at heel writers praying absinthe will unlock wondrous words from their cerebral prisons.
Porto is atmosphere rich; a city of quirks with an artistically bohemian swagger.
Like an exhibition of captured aliens, these guys live on the opposite end of the artistic scale from the neoclassical town hall which they front. Klaatu barada niktu.
A liquid Porto Town Hall, maybe as seen after a liquid lunch. But in this case reflected in one of the fountains on Avenida dos Aliados.
Sunlight dancing on a river always does it for me. Add an old port wine boat on the Douro River to the sparkly, sunny scene and I’m in my element. Add a glass of port wine and you might as well cement me into position.
The Dom Luis I bridge is like an industrial iron behemoth linking both sides of the river. It looks as though it could swallow up this cyclist and spit his bones into the Douro. This hard-as-girders metal monster should spoil the perfect Porto scenery… and yet it doesn’t. It looks right at home.
A sight that whooshed me back to my childhood when Sandeman used to advertise on TV . The enigmatic, shadowy Don was created by Scotsman George Massiot Brown in 1928. He signed his work as G. Massiot because French artists were the in thing at the time.
The old Dom Luis Bridge foundation… and a girl in a red coat and black boots. I just liked the look of this.
This shot says it all about Porto for me. The opulent Cathedral, a whipping post and a peasanty looking house with billowing washing and a creased faced old woman. Rich man, poor man.
Dom Luis I Bridge after dark – simply the golden gate. I was tempted to scrawl ‘Midas was here’ on the side of it.
Now this is what I call street art. These heavenly scenes are ten a penny in Porto.
It could be the 70s. Tony Curtis and Roger Moore could emerge from that rather snazzy building at any moment. Maybe that’s part of Porto’s indefinable charm – it’s difficult to tell what decade you’re in (wait till you get to the bars; I’ve never heard Tainted Love so much since my drunken nights at the Paddleboat Disco on Bute).