Aveiro – Day 8

Canal and Boats in Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved]
AVEIRO IS a community of about 80,000, about 40 miles south of Porto and about 5 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. That population number surprised me, because during our day there, it certainly didn’t feel that large. Our travel mates were more or less exhausted from several very active days with lots of walking. They decided to have an “unstructured” day in Porto, doing some light sightseeing and lunch down on in the Ribeira.

The draw there for me was colorful, gondola-style, boats

WE, ON the other hand, while ready for a slightly slower pace, did not want a totally “unstructured” day, and our pre-trip research had offered up several day trip possibilities from Porto. Aveiro was one. The draw there for me was photos I had seen of colorful, gondola-style, boats. One thing we appreciate about Europe is that much of it has a very good train system. They are reasonably priced, run basically on schedule (barring strikes), and seem clean and efficient. We headed to the train station where we had come into Porto earlier in the week and bought tickets for Aveiro. It was about a 1-hour trip. The clean, modern train station is about 1/2 mile from the Aveiro City Center. It seemed like longer than that as we walked down one of the main streets, toward the City Center, and the canals where we wanted to see the boats. But it was really an easy, flat walk.

Boats; Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
THERE WERE the normal, commercial establishments: restaurants, stores, etc. along the street (Avenue Vasco Branco), along with a surprising amount of construction. We saw a lot of construction throughout Portugal. I think this is the product of the combination of finally coming out of the pandemic, and the tremendous population growth Portugal is experiencing, placing new demands on infrastructure. As we reached the city center area, the canal appeared, and more “municipal – style” buildings came into our vision.

Open Air Shopping Mall
Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
ALONG THE canal, The Forum open air shopping mall, is visually prominent, as are some of the buildings of the University of Aveiro. Aveiro sits on a relatively flat tract of land, with a large lagoon, connected to the city center by canals. The lagoon eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean, about 5 miles to the west.

Aveiro Bridge
Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
AVIERO IS historically known for its salt production, as well as the gondola style boats that were used to collect seaweed for fertilizer for the nearby farm fields. After chemical fertilizers became prominent, this industry declined. But like so many places in the world, tourism has become an important industry for Aveiro, and enterprising individuals repurposed the boats to carry tourists on canal tours. Indeed, it was these colorful boats that attracted me to a possible Aveiro trip in the first place. In the city center, there are also many Art-Nouveau style building facades, making it a pretty place to walk around and take pictures.

Buildings along the Canal; City Center; Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022 All Rights Reserved}
WE HAD some lunch at a small, canal-side restaurant, and then purchased tickets for one of the canal boat tours. The canal ride was interesting and provided a different perspective on the city center. Our guide had three different language speaking groups onboard and he had us sit in those groups to facilitate his ability to speak to each of us  (English, German and Portuguese). He fluently spoke all three languages, and competently switched back and forth to explain the major sights as we moved.

City Center
Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
YOU MAY have noted, and perhaps wondered, what the significance of the colored ribbons on many of the bridge over the canal near the Forum Shopping Center is. It is not only a decoration for a colorful photo. The story has it that at some point two University of Aveiro students tied ribbons on this bridge as a symbol of love and friendship. Shortly afterward, the idea caught on, and you can now see the result. It is a motif that has been repeated elsewhere in the city, such as the ribbons behind the arch in the building, below.

Aveiro, Portugal Library
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
OF COURSE, Aveiro has other things to see and visit. While we did not do so, we understand that there is a nice museum, and there are certainly some churches that might justify some additional exploring. We had only planned part of a day in Aveiro and limited our time there to walking along the City Center canal area, taking the Gondola Tour, and our train rides to and from. Still, it was a nice and relatively relaxing day, and we felt that we got our “money’s worth.” Pretty little town, and if it fits your schedule in a Portugal visit, I recommend taking a day.

Aveiro, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved}
T

HIS WAS actually our final day in Porto. In the morning, we would head for the ancient walled city of Evora for a couple days. We had agreed with our friends to meet back at the hotel for drinks, and then do dinner in the Ribeira. Our view on that final evening from our patio height restaurant makes it obvious what the draw of Porto is for all visitors!

Ribeira; Porto, Portugal
[Copyright Andy Richards 2022
All Rights Reserved]
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