Barcos Rabelos

Port wine was traditionally moved from the Quinta to Porto in the Barcos Rabelos, a flat bottomed boat known only in the Douro valley. The river was very rough with gorges and rapids along its length. The dams raised the river in these areas  so now it is a peaceful and controlled flow. The Rabelos were replaced with road and rail transport. Port is unusual in that it is the only wine that is matured off the vineyard.

Rabelos are now used for tourism and publicity but are still made and repaired by hand.

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Rio Douro

We did a cruise along the river to the area where the grapes for Port are grown.  The cruise is by Rota Do Douro, and very well done.  Breakfast and lunch on the trip up to Regua and then a train ride back to Porto.

Looking back toward Porto and three of the six bridges, the middle on is no longer in use but is kept as a memorial.

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The first lock, 14 metre rise.

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Second lock, 35 metre rise, second highest in Europe.

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The next two photos give an idea of the lift:

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Top the same ladder.

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Some infinity pool

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Wine country

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In Regua we changed to a bus and went to a Quinta, a Sandeman owned one. Here we saw the vines and the pressing house.

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The Douro from the QuintaDSC00285

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An enjoyable day.

Afurada

The Marina we were in, just up the Rio Douro from the breakwater was in Afurada,  a lovely fishing community.

Just outside the marina was the communal laundry, a building with 4 great tubs and sloping stone lips to beat the clothes on and washing lines for the clothes to dry.

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Sunset at the marina

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Sunset the other way, looking past Kapowai up the river

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Porto

Porto has been a bit run down but there are plenty of signs of a renewal. This is great news as Porto is a fantastic city, visually, historically and with wonderful people. Here are a selection of the huge number of photos we took.

Looking up the Rio Douro

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Toward the cathedral

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Down River

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The Caves where the Port is matured in barrels

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A Rabelo cruising past the Cathedral. The Rabelo was the boat used to bring the barrels of port down the river from the Quinto where it was grown, pressed and barrelled. Now done by road tanker.

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Madonna

On top of the hill above the town was a large statue, we had a climb up there.

The hill seemed to be church, the path up having the ‘stations of the cross’:

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and an alter at the top

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A Crucifixion scene:

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and above it all a huge Madonna which looks like a memorial, or a blessing, to seafarers

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Plus beautiful views over the Atlantic:

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Baiona

Baiona was an easy cruise from Vilagarcia. A summer resort town but also the arrival port for the Pinta, and therefore the first town to hear of the discovery of the new world.  Columbus himself arriving in Lisbon a few days later.

A panorama of the harbour.

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A close up:

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Very nice harbour, it is a tourist spot for the Spanish.

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