This blog my be a little slow in getting posted from various places. When one has been wine tasting all day, one may not be very good at typing at night. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!
Porto was wonderful. We met with Shannon at 4 and with our local guide Alvaro. He grew up in Porto, is extremely proud of his city, and is so knowledgeable.
He walked us around the city, pointing out so many things we might have missed on our own and took us first to get a “snack” of pork cheek sandwiches, and then to get a full meal of a great variety of Portuguese specialties including salt cod croquettes, octopus, and some dishes he said his mother and grandmother made at home. There was a lot of white sangria, so I don’t remember all the various foods. The fires and music on the praca were in honor of Porto being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The next day we again met Shannon and Alvaro and walked down to the river, past the site where Henry the Navigator was born in the 15th century.
We then boarded our “boat” and cruised the Douro river seeing the six bridges that cross it. We disembarked and, luckily, it still wasn’t raining. We walked over to the Graham Port Company where we learned all about the process for the making of port wine, and got to taste a couple of different ones.
When we left Graham’s, the rain was coming down in bucketfuls so we taxied back to the hotel. Dinner that evening was across the street from the hotel in a wine bar. Great food and lots of kinds of wine to try.
The next day we journeyed away from Porto and went to Ponte de Lima. There was an enormous bi-weekly market going on right next to our hotel, so we explored it and then set out for Aphora vineyards and winery. It is in a beautiful location, very hard to find, and as the bus driver got lost a few times we got to see the countryside. What a pleasure. We toured the grounds and then had a winetasting of three different wines.
After we were done, we returned to the hotel and had some downtime. Later that evening we went out for another absolutely spectacular dinner, this time at the Taverna Vaca das Cordas, in Ponte de Lima. Amazing foo, great wines, and great company.
Today we didn’t start until 10, and drove to Ponte de Barca, a lovely small town. We were able to walk around on our own, enjoying the Lima River walk and the quaintness of the town.
We then got back onto the bus and journeyed a very short distance to the Quinta do Ameal vineyards and winery. It is also an agroturismo location, renting out rooms. It, too, is in a glorious setting and being there was a pleasure. We toured the grounds and then had a combination lunch and wine tasting. We actually bought our first bottle of wine to take back with us.
We returned to the hotel at about 4 this afternoon, rested awhile, then set out to explore Ponte de Lima a bit. Afterwards we stopped into the restaurant next door to the hotel where we had three small plates of food (roasted peppers, octopus salad and fried whole sardines), along with a glass of wine each (it had, after all, been a few hours since our last glass of wine!). Now it is bedtime. We still have another day and night in Ponte de Lima and then we leave for the Douro Valley. More later.