Tuesday, July 5, 2011

June 15th - Off to Port Land, the Douro Valley!!

We were off on another beautiful drive!  The Quinta (Vineyard) that we were staying at had sent us directions, but I could see on our map that we could also get there by getting off the main highway and driving more on the small country roads, Howard liked that idea!  It was a little Scary at times, the roads were very narrow and curvy with cliffs, (get the picture) and trucks making delivery's were also using these roads ;( , but it was so worth it.  The views were incredible!  First we were up, climbing, curving around here and there but after 1hr. or so (I really don't remember) we started our decline towards the River.   It was all a total paradise of a drive!  At one point before reaching the bottom we stopped for a cup of Cafe con Leite and a Pastel, both delicious.  We sat outside admiring the views!

In the town of Regua that sits on the Douro River we crossed a small bridge and drove along the river for about 30 minutes to the small town of Pinhao!  We passed many Quinta's, some just working Quinta's, others offering tours and others like ours, Tours and B&B!  We arrived at Quinta de la Rosa, admired the views, left our luggage and walked about 20 minutes towards town, looking for lunch.  After filling our stomachs with a good lunch and Vinho Verde, straight out of the barrel, we walked back to our Quinta to relax.  The grounds had a pool in a very relaxing environment so we headed there in our suits with our towels and books to read.   There we were relaxing on very comfortable lounges, overlooking the river....is this Heaven or what?  We never made it in the pool, not because of the views or the good book I was reading but because the water was really COLD!

That night we went to a recommended restaurant just in town.  We both enjoyed a fresh fish meal and a bottle of wine!  Our waiter was really nice, not something we could say often in Spain ;(.  Back at our room overlooking the river we watched the Full Moon Eclipse from our small balcony but we decided to go enjoy it from the Terrace, it was truly magical!  This Eclipse was only visible from this part of the world, it was not something that our family and friends were seeing from the US or Mexico.

June 16th - Breakfast was served on the Terrace - this is the life!  First on our Agenda today was to tour the facilities here.  We had a nice small group and one couple from Utah had been to San Miguel many times, they had numerous friends there (we didn't know any of them).  Alina, our guide was very knowledgeable-she gave us the history 1st of the Quinta and its owners.  The she took us to the area where they do the 'Foot Stompin', its all still done this way.  The Stompers get about $10US an hour.  She said its getting harder and harder to find people to do it.  Ideally they should all be the same height and weight but nowadays they are just happy to find anyone.  From here we went down to the cellar to see the big Oak Barrels.  Of course it ended with tasting wines and port.

Later we went into the small town to walk around, it was very quiet, not many tourists yet.  The waterfront was very nice, small restaurants, cafes and many boats of all sizes.  We grabbed a small lunch and walked around a little more  before going back to the Quinta to rest....too much wine last night zapped my energy today ;(  .  Went back to the waterfront for an early dinner and an early night!

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