Ribeira means in Portuguese "minor river" is an old area in Porto, next to the Douro river is one vast open-air monument. It is now popular by tourists for plenty bars and restaurants. Seafood restaurants Porto is cheaper than elsewhere in Portugal. Here, at the Ribeira Porto time slips by just as discreetly as the water in the river beyond. The Ribeira buildings, the Ribeira people, and the Porto streets all exude a warm nostalgia. Oporto in comparison with Lisbon is that it's calmer. But that alone does not make Porto unique. Most of the country is like this. Without this wistful nostalgia for the olden days, the fado, that sober blend of guitar and song, would not exist.
But they do not have time for fado songs in Porto. Lisbon is the university city of Coimbra studies, the port city of Porto works.
The people here are called tripe eaters, or tripas - and with good reason. In old times, when the rich port traders came down the Douro, they bought up all meat from Porto and took it home with them as provisions. Porto people love their seedy downtown district, although living is not always easy in this labyrinth of old houses and twisting streets, which are too narrow, even for smallest car.
What gives this working city a sense of grandeur are the bridges across the river. The grander of the two was designed by French architect Custave Eiffel. Just like his famous tower La Tour Eiffel Paris, the regal Ponte de Dona Maria Pia is built from an ingenious spider's web of steel plates. You should hear how this 1877 structure trembles and sighs under the weight of the busy 21st century traffic load.
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