One year later, during the S. João popular feast in Porto, there is the reencounter between two Josés, Santos (me) and Castelo, the man who made the “cascade” of “Ilha do Senhor Doutor”, on Rua de S. Vitor (which has the largest number of “islands” in the city). The moment is surprising, even for me, because I was not expecting to find this nice figure with such different look!
“Bem hajam!” (This expression so Portuguese and so little used is my favorite to thank).
I can not help but write a few words after this tour that despite the rain (and, maybe, so) went so well. All the participants maintained their good mood and joy, as if it were a radiant sun. I felt it was worth it, thank you for the generosity.
I hope you have enjoyed it and keep it as a good memory.
We are always here, available to share the best moments and the best photos that this old and worn city, but always so beautiful, provides.
Of course, there can’t be only 7 reasons to visit and photograph Porto. There are so many and so good reasons that it was not possible here and now to list them all. It is, therefore, that we suggest “only” these 7 that already justify a visit that is a delight not only for photographers as for all people. But (even here there’s a “but”), you may like it so much that you risk being in the mood to come here to live. It would not be the first !!!
1 – The People
Portugal has long been recognized as a country that enjoys receiving visitors, but Porto, even more! The writer Manuel de Sousa in his book Porto D’Honra said: “… the strong neighborhood and the unserpassed hospitality.” Photographing Porto’s people are portraits for life.
2 – The Douro River
Born in lands of Spain, it enters in Portugal through the province of Trás-os-Montes and leaves its mark on the way to the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. He brings with him many stories of achievements and it is to looking at him that Porto was born and lives every day. It is on the banks of the Douro that extends the most characteristic and the most beautiful area of Porto, the Ribeira. Photographing the Douro River is a stream of inspiration.
3 – The Bridges
There are six bridges that cross the Douro River and connect the banks of the two neighboring cities, Porto and Gaia.
Starting at the oldest, the D. Maria Pia railway bridge, designed by Eng. Gustave Eiffel (the same of the Paris tower), inaugurated in 1877, now deactivated and replaced by the S. João bridge in 1991, passing through the modern bridges of Freixo and Infante, by the fantastic and imposing bridge of the Arrábida and ending in the iconic and singular bridge Luis I with its double-deck metal arch. It is a feast for any photographer whose most difficult task is to have the courage to stop taking pictures.
4 – The Arquitecture
There are buildings whose architecture crosses much of the city history, from the Tower of Rua do Baixo of the thirteenth century, in Ribeira, passing through the innumerable projects by the Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni, the most emblematic without a doubt the Church and Tower of Clérigos, the S. João National Theater built at the beginning of the 20th century and designed by the Portuguese architect Marques da Silva, to the modernist House of Music, designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, as part of the European Capital of Culture event in 2001, and the headquarters of Vodafone, designed by the architects José António Barbosa and Pedro Guimarães, in the top 20 of the most spectacular creative offices in the world, is a journey that enchants and unveils the rich history. Making a photographic itinerary with architectural motifs is for it self a great story.
Vodafome headquarters building
5 – Parks and Gardens
The “Parque da Cidade”, Portugal’s largest urban park, stretches out to the sea and consists of a sophisticated landscape of lakes, varied flora and fauna, the Palacio de Cristal gardens with multiple viewpoints of the city and river, the magnificent gardens of the House and Museum of Serralves, the romantic gardens of Cordoaria and Botânico, and many others that can not be listed here. They are all pearls to be photographed.
6 – The Monuments
This city of Porto is also rich in monuments such as the ex-libris Torre dos Clérigos with its 75 meters of height that we can rise by its 240 steps and where you can see splendorous views of the city, the several stretches of medieval walls where there are still some of the old city gates, the imposing cathedral that dominates the city, the luxuriant S. Francisco church, the magnificent church of S. Clara, the almost unknown but fantastic church and museum of S. Pedro de Miragaia, the Palace of the Stock Exchange with its miraculous Arabic Salon, S. Bento Railway Station with its interior covered with more than 20.000 magnificent tiles that depict important episodes of Portugal’s history as well, excerpts from the 19th Century life in Portugal, and so many others that only a leisurely visit to the city will allow to know. Any of them is an attraction for any photographer who wants to add his story to the Porto´s history.
Porto’s Cathedral at night
7 – The Viewpoints
It is for many people, the most beautiful city in Europe and one of the most wonderful in the world. One of the reasons that contribute to this conviction has to do with its multiple viewpoints of the city. From the Serra do Pilar, on the south bank already in Gaia city, the perspective that is enjoyed there is splendorous, perhaps one of the most impressive images about a city that can be had. From the Vitória viewpoint you can see the all historical center, the Luis I bridge and the Serra do Pilar, and from the Virtudes Promenade, the sunset over the sea is unforgettable. And they are just some of the many who wait for you there. You may say that the beauty is so great that the cameras do not need the photographer.
Porto, Can’t Miss It!
Photos & text:
José Manuel Santos
Pictury Photo Tours is crossing borders in the company of my friends Ugo Cei from Italy and Ralph Velasco from the USA, great photographers and Photo Tour international leaders who have been kind enough to interview me recently.
You can listen below and follow us at www.picturyphototours.com
So says Sérgio Godinho’s song, singer-songwriter of Porto that I admire. Music is part of our lives, has an extraordinary effect on the awakening of emotions and the words sung in Portuguese are blessed.
Today I write with a peace and a feeling that from now everything will go well. It feels so good …
Yesterday we officially inaugurated Pictury Photo Tours, joining a group of friends for a small photo tour through Porto, that city of cobbled, narrow and old alleyways that is always there for us and we feel how much it likes to be shared. We start at Virtudes Garden, always different in each visit, but where we feel always free.
Next stop, the Church of S. Pedro de Miragaia, with its magnificent altarpiece, beautiful! We were greeted by D Zulmira, whom I thank for the generosity and sympathy with which she made known to us the whole filling of this church that is well worth the visit.
Now let’s all be (when I say everyone is really everyone, because me and our children did not know what was going to happen, everything was prepared by my husband) surprised (always liked to surprise and did not lose the way …) by our guide. We have a 5D movie session about Porto that I highly recommend. It’s a different and fun way to see Porto.
The ride is almost over. We are going to walk along a narrow street that ends in a staircase leading to a small square where there are only 3 doors, we have to go back. Very curious and unusual.
A wonderful dinner is waiting for us at Espiga, which is a really nice space with a concern to promote cultural initiatives that for me are important to the city and where we eat well.
We finished the day with the presentation of a beautiful video (I know I’m suspicious, but I really like it) with compliments from renowed international photographers who know about my husband’s work. Thank you all.
Finally, I want to thank all those who were present and those that can’t but are “cheering” for us since the beginning
I still want to say that, despite giving a lot of work, it has been a pleasure for me to collaborate in this project that, even though it is not mine, has all my love. I will always be willing to welcome you with my biggest smile.
Maria José Dias