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Goodbye to Porto

Our last full day in Porto gave us the opportunity visit the beautiful Sao Bento train station (our hotel is right in the middle of most of the great things to check out in Porto; we've only taken one cab ride and one on the funicular, and both of those occurred today). Afterwards, we went down toward the Duoro River, where much of the commercial traffic has taken place throughout Porto's history. Among the dominating features of the area are the Church of Sao Francisco and its museum and catacombs, and the Palacio da Bolsa, which once served as the stock market of Porto (until the creation of the EEC, which mandated that each country have only one stock market -- Lisbon won out). It also gave us time to cross the river into Gaia, a separate city and home to the port houses where the wine is aged in vats and barrels for up to 65 years. The vats and barrels are made of French oak; vats are used for 150 years, barrels are usually brought used from the Bordeaux region, used in the port aging process for up to 100 years, then resold to wineries that produce fortified wines such as cognac. We ended the evening amidst a "parade" of football fans leaving the sports bars after watching Portugal and Spain battle to a 3-3 tie in World Cup action (baby, this peninsula was rockin' tonight!)

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