Description The Yeatman is a luxury wine hotel and spa in Porto with spectacular views…
There’s a nickname for the people of Porto: tripeiros. Taken literally, it means “person who eats tripe”, which may sound a little insulting. But in fact it’s a reference to the 15th century, when Porto’s inhabitants gladly gave up all their meat for sailors heading off on their conquests, leaving only tripe for the locals to eat.
Today, this selflessness still survives in the residents of Porto (even if the culinary choices have thankfully become more varied). Wander the vertiginous streets winding upwards from the banks of the River Douro and you can’t fail to notice the generosity and fine manners of the Portuenses (that’s a slightly less colloquial term for the locals).
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Elsewhere in the city there are endless opportunities to stop and gawp. Like the Baixa district’s magnificent Lello bookshop with its spiral Art Nouveau staircase; the 20,000 blue and white tiles depicting historic scenes in São Bento railway station; and the vast glass-and-steel Casa da Música designed by Rem Koolhaas.
Did we mention the generosity of the people of Porto? Well it extends to their food and drink too. Throughout the city you can enjoy hearty portions of local dishes, from rich meats, hams and sausages to fish dishes like grilled sardines and the famous salt cod (bacalhão).
For a taste of the local fast food you just have to try a francesinha. Just be prepared for a gut buster. This gargantuan toasted sandwich includes layers of pork, steak, ham, sausage and cheese, all slathered in an oozy, boozy tomato sauce.
Of course, you’ll come for the port. And there’s certainly enough varieties to keep you amazed and amused throughout your stay.
Around the Douro, a huge selection of grape varieties are grown. Visit some of the older vineyards to admire their impressively gnarled vines and see how dozens of grape varieties are often mixed together to make port (and some unfortified wines too).
On the more modern vineyards you’ll see how vines are planted separately, maintaining the distinction between the top five grapes for port: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão.
Throughout your stay you’ll also get an insight into the history of port. Like the fact that the small chapels along the banks of the Douro were originally built to bless the sailors transporting port, lest they come a cropper in the treacherous waters. And that the local schist soil regulates the vine temperatures and help port grapes grow so successfully.
“Thanks for taking the time and trouble to call. You really have set the standard by which we compare all other companies!! Thank you so much for organising a fantastic itinerary with such an interesting and varied range of stop-overs. We are already starting to think about next year’s trip to France so would welcome any suggestions.”
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