Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Porto, Day 1

We have finally arrived in Porto, Portugal, for our seven-day, six-night vacation --- one day of which I (Bobby) will be giving my first tutorial at the 2009 Sound and Music Computing Conference. So far, we have walked through different parts of the city, gotten a little lost, gone through five churches, and had some yummy food.

The view from our hotel room is this wonderfully-tiled church, named "Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina" --- which is not a very old church, but still interesting to look at.

Here it is from the street.

On our walk we found a market, so being curious humans we went in.

At the front of the market was this shrine, and placed on top were hollow wax doll legs. No idea.

Along with fruit, fish, and blood and liver sausage, some were selling chickens!

Here I am taunting some kids to come beat me up. "T-Hombre" will protect me.
The thin medieval streets were excellent! Here Carla poses in front of one of the oldest surviving houses in Porto --- a five-story house from the 13th century!
There were beautiful colors in many hidden niches, and every once in a while there would be a shrine, and every once in a once in a while there would be a woman as old as the house watering her plants.

Here is the oldest cathedral of Porto, the Sé Cathedral. It was begun in the 12th century in Romanesque style.
Here is the front of the cathdral. One thing that was noticable upon entrance was its extremely tiny width and darkness, which is the opposite for Notre Dame de Paris and Basilique St. Denis.

Another church we visited was the Igreja da Orden de St. Francisco (you can see some of the pictures at that link), built in the 14th century. Its interior was nearly covered in total with painted, gold leafed, and bedazzled wood carvings, much like the cathedrals we visited in Prague.

At the bottom of one of the most impressive wooden sculptures was this glass case, containing "Our Lady of the Good Voyage or Bad Death," or something extremely strange like that.

Underneath the cathedral is the ossuary, and if you know me, you know I like to see bones. Underneath each one of those planks are buried people. And in the walls too.

And if you peer in one, this is what you see. They stopped putting people here in 1866, when a new health law was put into effect.

Through one of the keyholes of a locked door at this church, you can spy an alter containing a woman with several swords stuck in her bosom.

We are slowly coming to realize that Portugal is an extremely religious country -- mostly Catholic. There are many shops around that specialize in products for the religious, like rosaries, statuettes, medallions, baptismal clothing, and not to forget the burgeoning business of relics.

We love the desserts here! So many to choose from when it is afternoon coffee time! Just after this photo was taken, I ate the "Fatia Chocolate", and Carla had a somethingrather topped with chocolate!

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