Visiting the Museu do Carro Electrico - Tramcar Museum - Porto Portugal

Porto: Day 1

We did not hit the ground running today—unlike travel days of the past (see: the start of our gap year travel). Instead, we moved deliberately and more slowly with virtually no agenda.

After making our way through customs, where the official commented on how much we had traveled this summer(!), we picked up our Porto Card (ordered online while on the plane to Porto) and stopped for a coffee and bite of breakfast at the airport before requesting an Uber, as our Airbnb host messaged me via WhatsApp to let me know that our apartment would be ready at noon instead of 11:30 (still an early check-in and 100% appreciated as it was raining and we were all tired from lack of sleep on the flight).

My New Fave Travel Planning Tool: Help from Locals!

Because I wasn’t sure just when (or even if) we’d be able to resume our travels, I hadn’t planned anything for Portugal. And instead of making myself totally crazy with research in the final days before our departure, I hired a guide through ViaHero. She and I emailed back and forth and then magically, a guide with a suggested daily itinerary appeared in my inbox.

So, after a couple of hours of downtime (I took a mostly blissful 45-minute nap, with the exception of Addie poking me a few times), we followed our guide’s suggestion for a rainy afternoon and headed to the Museu do Carro Electrico (Tramcar Museum). We used our Porto Cards to take the bus there, and though the card also offers a discount on admission, in our case buying a family ticket was the better deal at 9 Euros.

Rainy Day Activity: Museu do Carro Electrico

The museum was delightful for us—not especially exciting, but for a family who were frequent visitors to the Transit Museum when we lived in Brooklyn, it made for a neat stop. It was also dry and empty, which were both in its favor.

We took the bus back toward our Airbnb in Ribeira and grabbed an early dinner at Pregar, where we enjoyed a tapas-style dinner. There might have been a mercifully tiny dessert or three shared at the table, including a homemade lime pie and a sweetened condensed milk concoction that we were told is known as “camel drool.”

Pasteis de Nata

Child eating Portuguese custard tart
Addie eating a pastel de nata or Portuguese custard tart

…And then as we headed back toward our apartment, we happened to pass by Castro – Atelier de Pasteis de Nata, where we were basically required to try the Portuguese custard tarts we had heard so much about. Because we’re not animals, we even waited until we got back to the apartment to eat our second round of dessert.

Nighttime view of the Ponte Luiz I and the Rio Douro
Nighttime in Ribeira, Porto, Portugal, by the Rio Douro

And so we ended our first day in Portugal in a sugar coma. And that, my friends, was the sweetest ending possible to our first day back on the road.

Hey there! I’m Melanie. Originally from Brooklyn, home is now Charleston, SC--or wherever my three kids and husband are. Our family gap year will take us around the world, touching down on six continents over 12 months.
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