Three European cities that have captured my heart


Three European cities that have captured my heart

Porto, Glasgow and Hamburg.

3 European cities that have captured my heart

As much as I love to take photos on the seashore, like the ever changing oceans off the Brittany coast, I also really enjoy taking in the views and architectural points of interest in city environments. Immediate boarding for a European tour of 3 enchanting cities: Porto, Glasgow and Hamburg…

Porto, vintage charm
Porto is North Portugal, but you can’t forget you’re in the South of Europe, where the colours are sun-bleached, the little streets wind chaotically, the walls are worn but adorned with dazzling azulejos. This is not Portugal’s star destination city, but I urge you to set off to discover its indolent charms. I was smitten from the first moments. I loved getting lost in the little streets around the cathedral, walking along the quays, and taking the old tramway up to Foz…


Must-see attractions in Porto

For a fabulous view: hop into a Gaia cable car – Calçada da Serra, 143
For some local flavour: visit at least one Port wine cellar. Sandeman is very good. Budget 4.5 € visit + tasting

For fine cuisine: drink some vinho verde while you enjoy grilled bacalhau and take a detour through some pastry shops…
I would have a hard time trying to tell you exactly where this restaurant is…it’s somewhere across from the Douro on the walk back from Foz… Drawn by the scent of bacalhau grilling on the barbecue, I stopped to indulge my taste buds. It’s not really in the guidebooks. It serves the neighborhood residents and the fishermen. Have a seat on a plastic yellow chair and wait for a table to open up. Try the menu for €5.

Matosinhos is the fishing port near Porto. The whole Herois de Franca street is lined with fish restaurants. Choose your fish, then it gets grilled on the barbecue in front of the restaurant tent, and ten minutes later, it’s right there on your plate!

R. Herois de Franca 321, Matosinhos

Glasgow, city of architecture and design

A wonderful stop-off on your way to the Highlands, Glasgow is also a great weekend or short getaway destination. I loved this arts city atmosphere and contemporary decor. You can’t go 3 steps in any direction without following the traces of the famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Designer, architect, painter, illustrator, decorator… the artist was born in Glasgow in 1868 and is associated with what is known in the United Kingdom as the Arts & Crafts movement. With his wife Margaret, his sister-in-law, and a friend, he formed the group known as The Four, which gave rise to the Glasgow Style, precursor to Art Nouveau.


My must-see attractions in Glasgow

For design: The Lighthouse – 11 Mitchell Lane – Glasgow – Entrance is free
The Museum of Design has been open since 1999, and it is set within Mackintosh’s first architectural piece, a building constructed in 1893 for the Glasgow Herald newspaper.

For your first perspective of the building, take the escalator up to the 6th floor and open the “Viewing Platform” door, and admire the view!

Go back down to the Mackintosh room (3rd floor) to see the artist’s models and projects. Next, go back down the spiral staircase in the tower…134 steps later, out of breath, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the city of Glasgow!!


– For fine dining: tea time at Mackintosh –Willow Tearoom– 2 addresses: 217 Sauchiehall St and 97 Buchanan Street

For traditional tea with scones, carrot cake, egg sandwiches, and mimosa, etc., there are two famous tea houses with replicas of the exact original Mackintosh decor.

– For some local flavor: The Mackintosh House  – Hunterian Art Gallery – University of Glasgow, University Avenue

On the campus of the University of Glasgow, you pass before this inaccessible floating door a few meters above the ground. A door leading to nowhere on a concrete wall. But the door comes from the Mackintosh House which in the past was located at 78 South Park Avenue, which was demolished in the 1960s. A guided visit devoted to the Glasgow Style is offered by the University of Glasgow.

Hamburg, a contemporary city of waters

Despite its canals, lakes, and rivers, Hamburg is not just another “Venice”. Rather, this is an original and undeniably contemporary city. I am captivated by its immense spaces, its vertical lines, and its tranquil ambiance.


Must-see attractions in Hamburg

– For architecture: HafenCity

HafenCity, means “harbor city”. This is the name of a new neighborhood in Hamburg built atop the old warehouses. This is the largest intra-urban project in Europe, which will increase the city center by 40%. Stop off at the information center. You’ll find excellent free publications on the project as well as cards.

– For a coffee break: Lieblingsplatz – Osakaallee 8

People line up for brunch and a latte. The sandwiches are enormous. It was beautiful outside, so I grabbed some lunch to go and picnicked on the quays near the Maritime Museum, just behind the café.


– Visit the unique spice museum at Am Sandtorkai 32

Admission 4 Euros

The building does not correspond to the idea people have of museums, so it’s easy to pass by and not even see it! Located in Speicherstadt, in the warehouse district, just push a little wooden door and walk up two dusty flights of stairs and you’ll find yourself at Spicy’s Gewurzmuseum. Find bags of spaces you can touch, lots of scales and grinders, labels, boxes, etc. This is an ideal museum for children.

Catherine Abhervé 

Since 2009 Vagabondes.fr has been showcasing European destinations. Catherine is passionate about short getaways. All she needs is 3 days to find out if
she wants to come back, extend the story, in a sort of speed dating with a city or with a region. It’s the time to capture an atmosphere, colors, just enough time to awaken the senses, a moment of curiosity.
That is what she tries to write when she gets home…her travel impressions, with a focus on art and beautiful hotels.

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