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Douro Valley and Happy Birthday

There was something quiet satisfying to us both arriving in our own boat and sailing a short distance up the Douro valley to a welcoming marina on the outskirts of the lovely city. Next to the marina was a old village fishing enclave, where we wandered the small streets soaking up the tradition family oriented community –

sitting outside their tiny houses decorated in tiles and paintings, chatting vigorously. For dinner we just plonked ourselves down in the middle of it - sipped the local red wine, sat in an aroma of smoldering charcoal and watched our fresh sardines being bbq'd by a rather handsome young man full of fun as the sun went down.

TintoNacionalTinto Francesca, Tinto barroca – grape variety names resurrected from the far reaches of my brain from the late 1980s where we sat in a school building in Ayr looking at beautiful pictures of the Douro valley and learning how adding alcohol early in the fermentation process was the key to Port production. Now we were in the heart of Port country soaking in the beautiful kept terraces of vines, having the pleasure of tasting 54 year old ports and the grapes looking splendid- almost ready to be harvested. Thanks to our tour guide George, and our six other fellow tour mates CJ had a most enjoyable, fun and memorable birthday wining and dinning in the beautiful Douro valley.

A short walk from the marina was the heart of Oporto, walking past Grahams, Dows, Taylors, and many family owned Port

houses, their warehouses all containing barrel after barrel of aging port. There were folk all to willing to offer you a tour and tastings backed by a old city, which was a real pleasure to walk around and the marina staff and location was just fabulous. We stayed an extra day than planned and left with fond memories of a great city stay on the Douro river. Not sure we will be cracking open a bottle of Port for a while – suffering a bit of Port overloading....