| Photo Diary | São Bento

We whizz through a lot of train stations on our gallivants many of which dim into one big  featureless blur of tracks and cement. There are few that do stand out in our memory for various reasons and one such remarkable station is São Bento in Porto.

São Bento is visually arresting. Its interior of 20,000 tin glazed azulejos (hand painted tiles) is both breathtaking an astounding feat in itself. Which is why we found ourselves lurking in the station despite having no where to go and no reason to be there other than to stand and gawp.

São Bento was built on the site of a Benedictine Monastery that was torn down in 1783. The construction of the station begun in 1900 and the famous tile painter of the time Jorge Colaço was commissioned to work on the interior. It took him 11 years to complete what we see today.

We visited São Bento at the tail end of the day when passengers were dwindling and shadows were tilting their way into residence. Perfect timing as the golden glow blossoming from the tinted windows was quite magical.

Portugal has a few stunning train stations another of our favourites is this one in Lisbon.


  1. I love a good train station as well! My hometown has a great one, 30th Station in Philadelphia. And I rather love the modern train station in Kyoto.

  2. Lovely! What struck me at this station is the 20,000 hand painted tiles. Mind-blowing! You are right though - Kyoto station is something. I can't forget that place - rather cavernous I thought.

  3. Wow that's amazing! I actually love visiting the central stations of cities, most of the main halls are so grand and I love the atmosphere.

  4. What a magnificent train station! I must admit - Portugal is not my favourite country that I've visited, but I will still grant that they have some truly wonderful art and architecture.
    PS: Chilean empanadas are baked - except if you come across a cook who makes them filled with cheese, in which case they are fried, and delightful.

  5. Amazing, have always wanted to see these tiles...I must one day soon :)) They look perfect :)) Love the light shining in as well. Magical time of day. xx

  6. Wow..... amazing train station!!!
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  7. you captured the the light and shadows so perfectly! lovely!

  8. Thank you Jane. This is Hiro's work...well more of his obsession really. He spends an inordinate amount of time chasing shadows. He will be happy that someone has appreciated his efforts :)

  9. Wow! Imagine that being your daily commute - I wouldn't mind train cancellations.

  10. wow amazing work - if only all train stations could be as amazing!

  11. Isn't it marvellous? I think you would like Porto Katrina.

  12. Right? Neither would I. I noticed that there were no benches here either - probably best not to encourage people to lie down and stare at the tiles?


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