Covas do Douro

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    • Day 5

      Nothing but Douro

      October 31, 2022 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      The rain returned, so we decided that today was the day to take the chug chug train up the Douro to the end of the line, Pocinho. It goes through a part of the river where the train is the only access, and it is quite beautiful. We had a late breakfast and made our way to the train station for an 11:30 train. We were not the only tourists who were doing this, and it involved an hour ride, a half hour wait, and an hour return. Every inch of it along the river. Turns out we had very little rain and lots of nice views, even in the late fall. Some of the grape leaves are still green, others are red, others are yello, others are brown, and still others have fallen off. It makes for a pretty palate.

      Getting back into Pinhao around 2 pm meant we had a late lunch. We ate just a few little empanadas of chicken and tuna, knowing that we were in for another big meal tonight back at the hotel.

      By the time we were done with lunch, the rain had stopped totally and the sky was dotted with big clouds, little clouds, grey clouds, dark clouds, white clouds. We decided to take about an hour drive up into the vineyards and had some pretty amazing views along with a few walks through open vineyards (we figured the owners wouldn’t mind if we walked through the vineyards instead of along the very narrow highway).

      So that was the sum total of our day — no Roman anything, no medieval cities, no megalithic necropolis! Relaxing and plenty of fresh air with beautiful views. The Douro Valley is really one of my favorite places.
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    • Day 24

      Pinhao, Quinta Da Pacheca & Mateus

      May 24, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Breakfasted at Quinta Da Rosa; excellent position overlooking the river.
      Sailed off in the van to follow the Tour Taylor (TT) instructions to Quinta Da Pacheca for wine tour & tasting at 1030. Wine has been produced here since 1538, when it was a monastery. 2005 it was developed into an upmarket hotel. The traditional 18th century house has been restored, and is now a wonderful blend of old and new. Lunch had been booked by TT and was the best food so far.
      The rest of the afternoon was pretty much written off; but someone had to do it!
      I managed to drag the crew to Villa Real (palace) of Mateus! Now you all remember the Mateus bottles with candles stuck in them - the height of sophistication in the 1970 NZ. I was pleased to see that in the intervening 35 yrs they hadn’t completely dropped the ball! Bought back great memories of touring here with Geoff & z Lucy in 88. Especially Geoff’s concern about the dead lady in the pond! The marble statue is still reclining in the pond. The garden was quite good, lots of box hedge trimming to do.
      Achieved laundry in Villa Real, bought cheese etc for dinner to try and reign in the excesses! We are not winning 🥇
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    • Day 25

      Day based in Pinhao, walking & boat

      May 25, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Quinta De La Rosa breakfast and an attempt to find a Dr for Eke, unsuccessful as the small villages don’t have Drs. Chemist of some help, and some of Cecily’s meds.
      Rest of us went on the scheduled walking am walking trip with Fernando, who was a ‘rough diamond’ and so different from city guides. We had a non stop commentary for 3.30 hrs. We were taken by van up into the hills behind Pinhao, and walked down & down & down. It got very hot! We were entertaining with foraged food; almonds, loquats, blackberries etc. all the while hearing about his life of military service, inc Afghanistan, Timor, and travels to Australia etc, winery work, you name it.
      He asked us if we knew when a guide was telling lies? The answer was “when his lips were moving”!! Very enjoyable insight into local activities, land ownership, tourism etc.
      pm we set out on a yacht to ‘motor’ up the Duro for two hours. Guide was ok once we got him to talk but I was feeling very sleepy in the sun.
      Bought fruit & cheese etc for dinner outside our lovely rooms.
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    • Day 8

      The Birthplace of Port

      June 22, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 84 °F

      The scenery on bus trip up to Sandeman winery was spectacular. We rode switchbacks along roads so narrow that one could not see the edge. All we could see was the valley 2000 feet below us. The vistas of distant towns and mountains stretched for miles. When we finally reached Quinta do Seixo we were led into a state of the art winery. A guide explained to us how the grapes are grown and pressed. Pressing, now mostly done with machinery, was previously done with human feet. Even now occasionally humans crush the grapes by foot. This method has two advantages. First, feet crush the grapes releasing the juice, but feet are too soft to break the grape seeds inside the fruit. If broken, the seeds impart an undesirable bitterness to the wine. Secondly, the heat from human feet jumpstarts the formation of yeast. Production of the most expensive wines still begin with the ancient method. Experts then age the grapes, either in oak barrels, or stainless steel vats to give the wine the precise character the winemaker desires. Descending a long stairway, we arrived at the wine tasting room. There we tasted a white port, and also a red, wines that sell in the United States for as much as $200 per bottle. Some of these terraces were actually made by the Romans, who settled here in the time of Christ. Thousands of rows of vines, extending up a 2,000 foot high mountain, were cut by hand. These plants extend roots deep into the rocky hillside, and many vines are centuries old.

      Generations past had to endure grinding poverty and mortal danger to transport their wine down this wild river to Porto. Their arduous journey on this river before a series of dams tamed it can be seen in this clip.


      What an honor it was to taste some of the best wines in the world! I will be sure to find a bottle of Sandeman port when we return home.
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    • Day 23

      Porto, Guimaraes, Amarante, Pinhao

      May 23, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Left Porto with the planning & precision of a military manoeuvre, and that was just to navigate our way to the top of the street and wait for Euan & David to retrieve the car from the parking building and navigate out way out of the city!
      Good travelling on the wonderful sweeping motorways. Side thrip to Guimaraes, where Portugal was born!
      Impressive Palace of the dukes of Braganza, plus a ruined castle further up the hill. Lovely town.
      Amaranth is a quiet town with a pleased river, huge church of Saint Goncalo, then on to Pinhao and Quinta (wine-growing estate in Portugal)
      La Rosa.
      Great accommodation; we have our own private terrace and the swimming pool just down some steps. Temp here 27c at 4pm; still 21 at 9,30pm.
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    • Day 3

      Es ist noch Suppe da

      August 17, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Nach einem reichhaltigen entspannten Frühstück gingen wir auf das Oberdeck und genossen die Fahrt nach Pinhao.
      25 Grad und Sonnenschein. Nach dem Anlegen spazierten wir zum kleinen Bahnhof der mit typischen Portugisischen Azulejos geschmückt war. Eine Standuhr gibt hier noch die Zeit an.
      Von dort fuhren wir zum Weingut Quinta Avessada wo uns der Eigentümer durch den Weinkeller führte. Anschliessend gab es ein typisches Portugiesisches Mittagessen zu dem auch eine typische Gemüsesuppe gereicht wurde. Davon war genug da. Tischgetränke gab es mehr als reichlich und so fuhren wir satt und lustig zum Mateuspalast. Nach Besichtigung des Palastes und des Gartens hatten wir auch für das geistige Wohl gesorgt. Auf steiler Serpentinen Strasse ging es dann zurück zum Schiff. Heute stieg das Thermometer auf 32 Grad und es soll morgen noch wärmer werden.... Mal sehen.
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    • Day 3

      Douro Valley 🍇🌱🌾🚂

      September 29, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      Eine der schönsten Zugstrecken!!! Immer am Douro entlang, links und rechts Weinfelder, Angler, Arbeiter … ich hing die ganze Zeit am Fenster, hab den Wind in den Haaren genossen und die drei Stunden vergingen wie im Fluge!Read more

    • Day 22

      Sandeman's estate

      November 10, 2016 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

      The port wine grapes are grown and crushed in the Douro and then transported to Porto where it is aged. This is one of the estates that grows grapes for one of the big port houses.

      The grapes are crushed in these giant concrete vats. It's no longer done by humans stomping (much - some places still do it occasionally) mostly it is done by robots.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Covas do Douro

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