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Portugal - Douro... the following

Updated: Jun 3

After two days in the mountains, I'm leaving again. In fact, the mountain was a "nice" accident. I thought I was booking accommodation in the Douro Valley but my fingers got tangled during my search on the internet. Fortunately, because otherwise, I would not have discovered the “stone house”.


So, yesterday, I checked twice rather than once, before booking my next accommodation.


Perafita, Alijo

We are driving quietly through valleys and mountains when my companion decides to take a tiny path... with the car. There's no stopping this one. Each time, I wonder how we will get through and, each time, everything ends well, not without me having a few heat or closing my eyes when I'm too scared. Unfortunately, I cannot use this technique when we are on a motorcycle.


In front of us, a tiny chapel looms. This is the capela do Senhor do Monte (chapel of the Lord of the Mountain).


Legend has it that, around 1680, on a very hot day, a shepherd who was tending his flock felt weak and extremely thirsty. He invoked the Lord of Miracles by striking the ground with his staff and immediately water began to gush out in abundance.


Another legend says that a shepherd who had leprosy hit the cliff with his staff and some water came out. He washed and was healed.


Whatever the exact origin, the fountain became "miraculous" and dozens of miracles have occurred there since, making the place famous.



We continue towards Valença do Douro taking “impossible” paths. Fortunately, the paving stones used in many places are durable and the roads remain passable at all times.



Passable... but still risky if you have had one glass of port too many.


On a motorbike, I love curves, except... here they are of a completely different ilk. With each new curve I feel like I'm going to fall into a precipice. I never thought it was possible to build houses and fields on such steep slopes.



Port wine, let’s talk about it.

This divine beverage is produced exclusively in the Upper Douro region. This wine is different from the others and its recipe was discovered by "accident". In the 1600s, when wine from the Porto region was exported to France, it did not cope well with the journey. So one had the idea of ​​adding eau-de-vie. This addition of pure alcohol has the effect of blocking fermentation and retaining residual sugar and fruitiness. This is the birth of Port in its current form, quickly appreciated by connoisseurs.


To fully understand all this, nothing better than a tasting stop at Quinta do Panascal, which belongs to the Fonseca house. There, I take the time to taste my port, but also to taste life and all the beauty and goodness it brings me.


N.B.: The Douro is a long river that originates in Spain, meanders for 940 km to finally flow into the Atlantic.


Ribalonga

It's not my habit to talk to you about accommodation, but when it is a human experience and not just a commercial one, it's another story.


This evening, a charming couple is hosting me. The Monteiro couple's Quinta, Terraços de Baco, is simply magnificent, as is their welcome. My room overlooks the Douro Valley and the surrounding mountains, what a wonderful landscape.



At breakfast, it is products from the farm, and from surrounding producers, that garnish my plate. I can thus taste the olive oil produced at the Quinta and the pumpkin and almond marmalade prepared by Mrs. Monteiro.


In addition, I have the chance to chat with Mr. Monteiro while tasting a 25-year-old Port, his rightly proud source. I encourage you to buy one or… several bottles before leaving. Since I only travel with a backpack, I won't be able to bring any back to Canada but I will keep the taste in my olfactory memory.



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