Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Douro River cruise

We capped off our visit to Porto with a one-hour river cruise to see the city's six bridges - of which they are very proud.

Starting at the Praca da Ribeira, we sailed inland first under the Ponte Luis I, a double-decked bridge completed in 1886. The upper level is strictly for the metro, although there is room enough to walk too (barely), while the lower level is for vehicles and pedestrians connecting Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.

Further up river is the Maria Pia bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel. It was completed in 1877 and was the first to connect both sides of the river.

Two other bridges feature some of the longest arches in the world. The Arrabida bridge's 270-meter arch was surpassed in 2002 with the completion of the Infante D. Henrique bridge and its 285-foot arch. The views of the cities on both sides was very nice. The cruise, accompanied by sunshine for the first time in two days, was a perfect way to end our stay in Porto.

Following the cruise, we did some souvenir shopping and had lunch in the port area. There are numerous options for both.

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