VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Ever fancied a drive through Europe with your dogs? We’ve been doing it for 10 years, since we got Oscar, because we never considered putting him in an aircraft hold. He loves the company on the road and this way we don’t worry about his wellbeing when we’re away. Ollie joined us 5 years later and really helped keep his brother company on the road. Of course our immediate concern is where to spend the few nights en route, always making sure that we research how dog-friendly each hotel is. Many advise us of a charge per dog and per night but end up waiving it when they realise that our dogs are medium size and very well behaved. Others quote a double fee but then only charge for one. Our hotels of choice tend to belong to the Accor group, which is extremely dog-friendly, especially in France. In other countries, dogs are allowed in some bars and outdoor areas; in France some brands even allow them in restaurants – and find it strange that we even ask…
Welcome to our April DogBlog!
Our first stop in Portugal is normally Porto – the country’s second city and my hometown. The city has come a long way in the last few years in terms of dog-friendliness, especially since the law changed in May 2019, in order to accommodate our pets in public establishments. As soon as it became the law that pets were welcome inside cafés, bars and restaurants, we began to offer our LMDI dog-friendly stickers to managers and staff and soon started to see them proudly displayed on doors and windows. This earned them a free listing on our website, of course.
Beaches are also becoming more and more tolerant, with some restrictions during the high season for obvious reasons. Our dogs absolutely adore water and literally jump at any opportunity to swim in rivers, lakes, ponds and the ocean itself. This of course provides us with amazing Facebook and Instagram opportunities…
The riverfront promenade is as gorgeous during the day as at nighttime. The Gaia side of the Douro river is called Beira-Rio, while the Porto side is known as Ribeira. The D. Luís I Bridge was built by the Belgian Engineer Théophile Seyrig, who had previously collaborated with Gustave Eiffel in the construction of the railway bridge D. Maria, which still stands by its side more than 100 years later.
For the whole of my childhood, Porto was known as the City of the 4 Bridges. This has since changed with the addition of 2 new crossings. All of them connect the cities of Porto and Gaia, both in the district of Porto. The Douro river is the highest-flow river in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain), it rises in Soria – central Spain – weaves its way west through the north-west of Spain and the north of Portugal, ending in Porto and the Atlantic Ocean.
WOW Porto (World of Wine) is a collection of wine-related cultural centres on the Gaia side. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, cellars and even a few museums. You can enjoy guided-tours explaining both the history of the city and its port wine, often followed by free tasting sessions and the possibility of purchasing your favourite bottles. Highly recommended is lunch at the 5 star Yeatman Hotel, offering not only 2 Michelin stars in its restaurant but the most amazing, breathtaking views of the river and historic centre. And the best part? It’s dog-friendly! A completely revolutionary concept in a country like Portugal, where people assume that “posh” establishments wouldn’t readily welcome pets. Well, quite the opposite. Our dogs weren’t just welcomed, they were spoiled.
Crossing the river from Gaia to Porto, one of our favourite haunts is Parque da Cidade (City Park), where dogs are supposed to walk on leads, but owners often release them if well-behaved. Beware of park wardens as they are known to dish out on-the-spot fines, especially if dogs are seen worrying ducks in the park ponds and lakes. Other than that, the huge expanse of the park is the ideal way to exercise your dogs in a stunning haven of tranquility, flora and fauna.
Got photos and videos of your own trip to Porto? Did you find it dog-friendly? Please share them with us on www.facebook.com/groups/letmydogin.co.uk
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For more ideas and recommendations, try:
Bars & Pubs – https://www.letmydogin.com/bars-pubs/
Restaurants – https://www.letmydogin.com/restaurants/
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Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.