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Porto, Portugal

It’s a pleasant walk from my hotel to the centre of the city, the view changes as one gets closer to the centre. It starts with a view of Vila Nova de Gaia, by the Ponte do Infante, the buildings look as if they are stacked on top of each other as they reach down the hill to the river side.  A combination of the bends in the river and the bridges being quite close to each other, provides the view of a bridge through a bridge.

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There is an alternative route down to the river front, hundreds of steps that meander down and around homes, to arrive just by the Ponte Dom Luis I.  I really liked the randomly shaped, terracotta tiled roofs.

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The Muralhas de D. Fernando, are what remains of a series of walls built around the city, from around 1336. The funicular runs between the wall and the buildings, taking one up the steep slope.

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A walk across the Ponte Dom Luis I, provides an alternative view of the old wall, and of Vila Nova de Gaia across the river.

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The Centro Português de Fotografia, is in a building that was once used as a prison. Built in 1796, it was a prison until April 1974, when, a few days after the Revolution, the building was deactivated and the existing prisoners were moved to other prisons. After renovations the museum opened in 1997, as well as holding photographic exhibitions, and promoting the development of photographic art in Portugal, it has a large collection of cameras.

The cameras are displayed in glass cabinets, on glass shelves, so it was difficult to get reasonable shots of the exhibits. Some of the older cameras, made from wood, are like works of art.

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There was a lot of miniature cameras on display, seen as cutting edge at the time of their production and used by spies for covert operations. There’s also an interesting collection of objects turned into cameras, carbonated drinks cans, cigarette packets, lighters and portable radios.

Before the digital cameras, taking photographs involved using a ‘roll of film’, that is what the coloured little cylinders in the photo above are, which only had room for a certain amount of photos. When all the film was used up one had to get it developed, either by taking it to a store that did developing or sending it by post. It was only when the developed film was collected that one could see the results of the photos.

There is a delightful mixture of architectural building styles in Porto, it’s worth a walk around the city to appreciate them.  Residential properties if not covered in azulejos are often painted in bright colours.

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