I didn’t think I would upload a blog post this morning, because I thought I would be in a rush to leave the hostel and start cycling north. However, there has been a slight change in plans. Instead of riding my bike down steep hills and pushing it up the other side trying to ride north out of the city in bumper-to-bumper car traffic, I’ve decided to take the metro to a station outside the city limits.
Today I did a dry run on foot and walked a bit over nine miles in the process. I walked to a metro station, rode the train, and made sure that it would be easy to get a bike on and off. It was a long walk to the metro station, over four miles, but tomorrow on the bike those four miles will go by more quickly. On the way to the metro station, I passed through part of the commercial district of Porto. In case you think that all of Porto consists of centuries-old, crumbling buildings, here’s a picture of a newer commercial district.
Another district that I walked through seemed to be a mixture of old and new. The turrets on top of more modern buildings are either fake, or they were preserved when an old building was modernized.
If you’re wondering why I included the following picture of the nameplate of a hotel, the hotel’s name caught my eye, Hotel Fénix. Fénix is, of course, the Portuguese spelling of Phoenix. Somehow I doubt that the hotel was named for the city that I live in. It was probably named for that dumb bird. Nevertheless, I prefer to think that the hotel owners named their hotel after the capital of the State of Arizona.
Here’s a picture verifying that bicycles can indeed ride on Porto’s metro trains. The train was more crowded when the cyclist first got on, and he had to repeatedly move his bike to get it out of the way of passengers who were getting on and off the train. I guess I’m willing to inconvenience a few people this morning with my bicycle, which will take up even more space, because it will have four pannier bags hanging on the side. I’ll be on the lookout to make sure that no one sticks their mitts in my luggage to rob something. That is probably much less likely here than in Paris.
Here is what a Porto metro train looks like from the outside. The metro trains run mostly at ground level. This is the station where I plan to get on the train this morning. There is a ramp leading up to the opposite platform that I could ride my bike up. How do I get from that platform to his one? There are walkways leading across the tracks. You look to make sure no train is coming and walk or ride your bike across from one platform to the other.
When I got to the station, I had to learn how to buy a ticket and how two navigate the system. The only other people on the platform were two elderly ladies, and I was pretty sure that they didn’t speak any of the languages that I speak, so I asked in my basic Portuguese. I was even able to understand their answers.
You buy a card from a vending machine. There are no ticket offices at most metro stops. You then load the card with the number of trips you want to take and how many zones you will travel through. I have the card now, and this morning I will load it with one ticket good for four zones.
Here’s a picture of a train coming into the station. There is a cyclist near the far end of the platform waiting to board. The rules state that you are supposed to roll your bike on the train through the doors at the rear end of the train, and he looks properly positioned to do that.
When I roll my bike off the metro train later this morning, I will be in the exurbs of the city, and I hope to spend the rest of the day calmly cycling rural roads. I believe I know how to get from the metro station to the Camino.