By Mehdy Ghannad
We awoke to an overcast sky however no rain, so we couldn’t complain as we packed up our gear to go out filming. We put down our breakfast and coffee while discussing the first couple of days in Porto and planning our last three days before returning to the States.
Our first visit for the day was conveniently situated right around the corner from the hostel. The Torre Dos Clerigos is a clock tower attached to an old cathedral and atop the bell tower are staggering panoramic views of Porto. To get to the top you have to climb a spiral staircase consisting of about 240 steps, passing old stonewalls and huge bronze bells along the way.
We sprinted up the stairs, stopping every once in a while to peak through narrow slits in the stonewalls to get a preview of the view to come. Our breathing was heavy as we reached the top and Mehdy had his very own Rocky moment as he hopped around with his arms up, shadowboxing while singing The Eye of the Tiger. We walked around the small circular terrace as we looked down on Porto. We could see Louis in the distance with the tripod and camera facing up in our direction. He looked like an ant as we waved our arms around like madmen – just small specks atop the tower – trying to get his attention.
From there we visited the Palacio de Bolsa, a building that used to house the presidents of Portugal and other people of influence. Beautifully tacky, the palace is a great spot to look into the world of Portuguese power from the past. With incredible paintings of previous leaders, naked women and even an Arabic Room that took seventeen years to complete (let’s just say the details in that room are pretty damn exceptional), the palace has a lot to offer before taking in a lesson on Portuguese wine on the first level.
Something remarkable happened after we finished up with the palace. We heard back from the head of public relations for FC Porto. FC Porto is one of the best soccer teams in Portugal and a big contender throughout European play. We reached out to them thinking it would be really cool to feature FC Porto as a must see while in Porto. Apparently they thought the same thing. Pedro, the PR guy, invited us over to the stadium to check out the facilities. Built to be one of the host stadiums for the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament, the stadium holds just over 50,000 people and has outstanding facilities.
We met Pedro at the press entrance to the stadium and he began walking us around, taking us out onto the field, into the visitor’s locker room and to the media room. Walking onto the field was a really cool experience for all of us, all being soccer fans and sports enthusiasts. Pedro invited us to come back the following day to attend the press training that the team holds the day before games. Beyond excited, we thanked him kindly and made our way back to the hostel to take it easy for the night with some new friends and of course, some wine.