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Porto, Portugal. Part 2

November 24, 2017

Hi everyone, well well… so you have survived and made it to the final post about Porto in Portugal. Have you enjoyed the journey, do you feel like you’ve seen Porto in a new light or just simply discovered it’s charms for the first time… impressed ?

Considering I was only there for four days, it does feel like I’ve managed to pack a fair bit into the trip. All this time was helpful.

There was so much to see and around every second corner, a new discovery, another huge building to work out what it was for, a park, sculptures or some very weird trees ! (Perhaps they’re Portuguese Daleks lol)

I felt like the arts scene is really beginning to take a hold here, it wasn’t as developed as in Lisbon and my disappointment was not to discover many contemporary ceramic artists making something other than touristy items, fish, sardines or swallows. In a country famous for it’s pottery, I hope to see a development there in the next 5 years.

Also well known for it’s numerous (and very impressive) bridges crossing the busy river Douro.

You can even take a river cruise that explores six of the nearby bridges or head out further into the wine growing regions.

I discovered an italian festival on the far bank and a host of busy chefs trying to set a pizza record !

Boats, ships and cruisers everywhere.

Of course in the back streets you can pop into one of the distilleries and sample a glass or three of their beautiful Port… when in Rome etc. I was enjoying the port and the light whilst everyone else seemed to be playing with their mobile phones lol

But sadly, all too soon, all good things must come to an end.

Before heading to the stary sky and seeing Porto from above.

Via this futuristic airport, which looked like I’d just entered a sci fi movie set !

I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey with me, do tell me what were your highlights ?










Porto, Portugal. Part 1

November 20, 2017

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to the last double post about my recent trip to Porto in Portugal.

I find it easier to judge how I feel about a place after I’ve returned from it and go through the exercise of sifting through my photographs. Pictures have such strong connections to my memories, visual prompts I guess, I find they trigger thoughts and ideas much more than descriptions or words ever do. Porto, for me, is all about contrasts. New and old, up and down, tradition verses contemporary. Lots of empty buildings, some with scaffolding, some being refurbished and others just being bought. It’s a city, very much in the process of change and being redefined.

Snaking alleyways and winding stairways lead people to and from their homes to the city centre. Like tributaries running to the river.

You don’t just have to travel on foot !

The locals still like to hang out !

Almost everywhere you look, there’s always an up and down buildingwise.

Colour scaling the grey.

Warm tones.

Life in the busy city.

An amazing cafe (below) called Backsons who do fine Burgers and Mussels, well worth a visit. And a couple of views from a train journey to Pinhao which I didn’t cover in the posts. Watch out for Part two later this week.






Serralves Park and Villa, Porto. Part 2

November 16, 2017

Welcome to the last but one post concerning my travels around Porto in Portugal. For those of you who are regulars to my blog, I imagine that by now, you feel like you’ve traveled with me ? lol If you’ve missed my previous write ups about the Architecture, Design, Ceramics, Graffiti of the city itself, you can find them by searching for my past posts on Porto, using the search function on the right of the blog.

A visit to Serralves Villa offers a chance to take a trip back in time: to this unique example of Art Deco architecture, built in the 1930s and belonged to Count Carlos Alberto Cabral. With great decorative rigor and quality materials, the Villa benefited from the intervention of leading figures of the time, such as Marques da Silva, Charles Siclis, Jacques Émile Ruhlmann, René Lalique and Edgar Brandt.
There’s quite a lot of pink don’t you think. As you can see I was lucky to enjoy some sunshine on the day which enhanced the pink contrast with the blue sky.

That’s quite a view.

Inside the villa, it’s all cool tones and sunlight splashes.

Art deco ironwork, greets you.

Some great details, I wonder what it was like to live here back in the 1930’s ?

The parkland surrounding the villa and museum is worth a visit alone.

Everywhere you look nature is bursting out in it’s finery.

Bark, birds and pine cones.

Hundreds of conkers in their cases, looked like a sea of small furry creatures.

The trees and forests were wonderful too.

I loved these skeletal leaf shadows.

Colour, texture and pattern everywhere.

After all that, a brief but glorious sunset, whilst enjoying a beer on the beach.

Next week, Porto the city and all it’s ups and downs… literally ! Catch up on Monday, hope you’ve been enjoying this series of posts about life in Portugal.












Serralves Art Museum, Porto. Part 1

November 13, 2017

Welcome to the last but one, two-part post about my recent trip to Porto in Portugal.  Today I’d like to show you around the main Art Museum and Gallery in Portugal… the Serralves Museum.

The Serralves Museum opened in 1999 in order to endow Oporto with a space dedicated to contemporary art. The Museum’s core objectives are the constitution of a representative collection of Portuguese and international contemporary art. The building of the Serralves Museum was designed by architect, Álvaro Siza, who was invited in the early 1990s to design a museum project that took into consideration the specific characteristics of the physical setting and the need for integration within the surrounding landscape. The setting is beautiful, but I’ll show you more about that in part 2.
Here’s some snippets from wandering around the Museum, I’ve been amiss in gathering the names of artists here, but I let myself off as I was on my holidays lol
Some interesting play with words and sounds from the sixties and seventies. Does now mean now ?
Large optical shapes and colours.
Geometric, transparent, angular perspex sculptures. Lovely to look through and see how the colours blend together.
Detailed data/survey maps transformed into art.
And then simplified furthermore into paintings.
There was a whole room of imagined devices.
Outside of the Museum the art continued into the parklands and fields. This seemingly floating mirror actually housed a cinema screen.
Other art installations spaced around the site.
Of course for me it’s often the natural discoveries from mother nature, that are equally as impressive as the art ! Look out for part 2 on friday, when I’ll show you more of the beautiful grounds and the Art Deco house too.
If you’ve missed my previous write ups about the Architecture, Design, Ceramics, Graffiti and the city itself, you can find them by searching my past posts for Porto, using the search function to the right of the blog.









Architecture in Porto

November 6, 2017

Good morning everyone and welcome to another week. I hope you are still enjoying seeing as much of Porto as I did, just a few more posts to endure if you’ve had your fill already lol.

Just a ponder today on some of the beautiful architectural details I spotted a few weeks ago. Such a wild mix of styles, classical, deco, nouveau and at time a little bizarre !

I found the rich layers of gold and guilt work in the churches, far too much for me. Classical and Baroque overkill as far as I’m concerned.

Some wonderful buildings as part of the main shopping streets.

This veranda caught my eye as did the strange little flourishes on the glass domes on numerous rooftops across the city, I can only think they might be used to allow extra light into stairwells etc.. anyone else know what these structures are for ?

Some fab door details, scrolled ironwork and architecture.

A handy knocker !

This pink door can only be used by local pixies, as the top of it came up to my chest height !

Lovely weather worn carvings in this church doorway.

This impressive statue ” The Monument to the Heroes of the Peninsular War ” site in the middle of the large rotunda in the Boavista district of Porto. Despite being in the middle of a busy round-a-bout the monument is set in a peaceful tree-lined garden.

The statue celebrates the Portuguese and British victory against the French forces of Napoleon during the 1808-1814 Peninsular War. Set atop the impressive column is a lion, representing the Portuguese and British, dominating an eagle, representing the forces of Napoleon.

The figures at the base create a real sense of the tortures of war and the struggles during this period.

A few beautiful staircases spotted on my travels.

One of my  favourite stop offs was in the Cafe de Paris. Filled to the brim with vintage memorabilia of old toys, cameras, lamps, soda streams and hundred of other bits and bobs. Great food, atmosphere and a free pianist thrown in with your glass of Port !

What’s not to like lol.



Design in Porto Part 2

October 30, 2017

Welcome back to my posts about Design in Porto, if you missed post 1 you’ll find it here !

One place to head for if you are self catering and in need of some fruit and veg or simply enjoy markets, then head for the Mercado do Bolhao (Rua Formosa – more images here) A colourful and beautifully presented array of all kinds of produce, with cafes and souvenir shops on the ground floor.

There’s such a great mixture of the old and new in Porto. Speciality shops that have long since disappeared in the UK, like broom / brush shops or shops just selling parts for singer sewing machines ! It’s a great trip back in time.

A few of my own elevated views on design shapes and styles.

The old and the new go hand in hand. Marionette museums and quirky illustration boutique shops. I like the sign on the train welcoming prams and surfers alike !

You can still also discover an array of antique book shops that I wonder how on earth they know what is in each and every mountainous teetering pile surrounding their till or indeed how they sell enough volumes to just keep going.

From hip cafes to hip hats.

Shops that sell clothing brands ‘For Real Hunters’ and a gun to go with it!

More graphics from a forgotten era but great to still see today.

Mr cloaked Sandeman (a famous Port label) popping up here and there, looking more like zorro with a wine glass !

Wonderful art deco and still that intriguing mix of old and new.

These lovely tiled stones near to the main station.

Modern packaging for traditional sardines.

And finally a fish magnet shop… well it would be rude to go home without one !

More about the art and crafts around Porto to come soon.





Design in Porto Part 1

October 23, 2017

Welcome to my recent travels in Porto, Portugal. I’ve been showing the photographs I’ve taken of graffiti, illustration and will also be including ceramics, architecture and some of the art of the surrounding areas too. Stay tuned : )

We start today’s post off with a visit to a few stores who sell a great range of crafted or designer goods. In the Rua da Fábrica we find ‘Mario de Almeida L’, which hosts different makers all with their own table of wares. Some new work here alongside the typical array of cockerels, swallows and sardines that appear to be everywhere. Nicely displayed in a free to browse environment.

A few other local shops with upmarket product displays in a very natural, relaxed environment.

A wonderful mural in this wine / port / art bar.

A tuk tuk and tuk tuk delux lol

Any Mod or pearly king / queen would be proud to ride this Vespa. From craft markets to rustic old broom shops, it’s all in Porto.

I wanted to take a walk around the Casa de Musica because I like to experience modern architectural spaces. I thought the cost of lunch here would be pretty high, but to my surprise and delight they had a great all in deal for a daily special of soup, curry and rice, desert and a beer for just 7 euros. Great food at a bargain price and a wonderful setting to eat in too.

One of the studios on my list of ‘head to’ places was O! Galeria  located in the Miguel Bombarda block, where the majority of small artistic businesses were.

It’s a stunning collection of local aspiring illustrators and a great place to discover some fresh work to adorn your walls.

Not far away was this beautiful hostel (the quality of which I rarely come across). It was also an art gallery and general haven to chill-out in the busy city. Known as Gallery Hostel Porto ( Rua de Miguel Bombarda, 222)

Patch concept store (Rua do Rosário 193) also got the thumbs up from me. Vintage clothing, new and retro ceramics and vintage toys and gifts from a bygone era. Trendy, re-loved we-love bric-a-brac if the term exists !

The best place to head to for a wonderful array of children’s books would be ‘Papa Livros’ (Rua de Miguel Bombarda. 523).

Such a great collection of illustrated volumes (a few in English too) with prices ranging between 10 – 15 Euros.

A retro gadget tea-shop.

And I love the mix of old and new businesses here, just look at these store fronts and graphic fonts.. wowsa!

How many art deco garages do you know of that are still in use and this clean ?

Some beautiful stores with products stocked to the ceiling.

More to come on the design in Porto front next week in post 2. See you all then and please keep those comments coming too.