Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Porto's Atlantic Coast - surfside coffee at Praia dos Ingleses

I caught the number 500 bus from Porto's São Bento train station. About 18 stops later at Castelo do Foz, I'd reached the Atlantic Ocean.

Walking from Foz pier, along Avenida D. Carlos I, I
rounded the road into Rua Coronel Raúl Peres. Cue expansive horizons and large, dark rocks smoothed and shined by the waves.

Café Praia dos Ingleses dominat
ed this stretch of coastal road, and it called me in for coffee. Wooden steps led down onto a spacious decked terrace filled with white, unfussy tables and chairs. The sense of being at one with the waves was wonderfully tangible.

Indoors it also hit the laid-back surf atmosphere right on the head. The same unfussy tables and chairs filled half of the room, giving way to squidgy orange and brown leather beanbags set around low, dark wood coffee tables. Could there be a better place to spend the day working at a laptop or watching the turning of the tide through the café’s floor to ceiling windows?

For casual chilled out, beachside appeal, Café Praia dos Ingleses definitely fitted the bill. The music playing was unobtrusively ambient and the customers were totally at ease, gazing out of the windows and sipping hot or cold drinks. It was also impossible to imagine the young, friendly waiting staff that stood staring at the hypnotic rise and fall of the ocean, ever getting into a flap. My small coffee was cheap at €1, and satisfyingly strong. And the WIFI was free.

I travelled to Porto from London Stansted with Ryanair. I stayed at the Rivoli Cinema Hostel, and used the Communicarta transport map that is featured in Thomas Cook’s CityS
pots Porto guide.

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