According to the itinerary I’d printed out, my flight arrived several hours before check-in time at the Hotel Vice Rei. (This was several hours plus one half hour before the actual check-in time I later found out from a perturbed employee at the front desk.) With time to kill, I and my preposterously over-packed bag set off in search of an ATM that would cooperate with my chip-less American credit cards and a nice place to set a spell.
By chance, I happened upon the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, a cliff-side park with stunning views over the Rio Douro, wild peacocks skulking around fountains, and countless paths weaving their way down the steep valley walls. Incredible!