On our first day out of the city of Porto we joined up with fellow bloggers on our post conference trip to the Douro Valley.
It took a couple of hours to reach to mountainous region where we snaked our way through the mountain roads.
Portuguese vineyards line the hillsides in all direction with deep purple grapes hanging from their vines, plump and juicy and ready for picking.
As we rounded a bend in the road the Douro river appeared below to our left as we saw our destination for the day.
Cruising the Douro River on a Rabelo Boat
Waiting for us was a rabelo boat, a traditional Portuguese cargo boat found only in the Douro region.
Years ago they would have been used to transport people and goods along the Douro river. Today it was being used to give us a cruise through the valley.
Everyone on the boat seemed to instantly notice the greenness of the river, not that it was dirty but that there were huge amounts of algae floating at its surface.
Our captain explained that dynamite was used to blow up rocks further down the river and that the algae that grew on them had been washed into the river giving it this green glow.
The cruise along the river was peaceful and still and the sound broken only by a tractor collecting the harvest in the hills above or the occasional passing train on our left.
Our time on the water was short but gave us a glimpse of this quiet and relaxing area. As we docked a large boat passed us and our guide told us how it was the weekly cruise from Porto to the Spanish border. Not a bad way to see the region!
Lunch and Pinhao Station
We had a short tour of the hotel where some rooms had a great view of the river before we were directed out of a back door of the hotel.
To our surprise we popped out on the side of the railway and Pinhao station.
Pinhao station is well known for its decorative exterior. Each wall was decorated with the traditional blue and white tiles of Portugal.
The images depict the theme of port wine and two of the sets show landscapes that no longer exist, the Cachão da Valeira, and the iron bridge of Ferradosa.
Mid afternoon and it was time to leave the Douro Valley. Our next stop was to the neighbouring Minho region and an overnight stay in the city of Guimaraes.
We enjoyed our brief visit to the Douro Valley and after our journey through Portugal have become very fond of its red wine.
Just another excuse to go back one day and try some more.