Northern Portugal is famous for their port wines

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
1
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
AMAVIDA riverboat
What I did
Another winery

Flag of Portugal  , Northern Portugal,
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Map of Porto and Gaia.
 
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Before I begin my blog, I thought it would be helpful to provide information on what port wine is. Here's an excellent link about port wines.  http://www.winesofportugal.info/pagina.php?codNode=18091

Here's an informative piece about why the British became influential in the Portuguese wine industry.
From Wiki.
Port has been one of the most well known and successful wines in the history of Portuguese wine.The history of Portuguese wine has been influenced by Portugal's relative isolationism in the world's wine market, with the one notable exception of its relationship with the British.[1] While wine has been made in Portugal (and neighboring Spain) since at least 2000 BC when the Tartessians planted vines in the Sado andTagus valleys. By the 10th century BC, the Phoenicians had arrived and introduced new grape varieties andwinemaking techniques to the area. Up until this point, viticulture was mostly centered around the southern coastal areas of Portugal. In later centuries, the Ancient GreeksCelts and Romans would do much to spread viticulture and winemaking further north.[2]Portuguese wines were first shipped to England in the 12th century from the Entre Douro e Minho region (which today includes modern Portuguese wine regions such as the Douro and Vinho verde). In 1386, Portugal and England signed the Treaty of Windsor which fostered close diplomatic relations between the two countries and opened the door for extensive trade opportunities. The 1703 Methuen Treaty furthered advanced English economic interest in Portugal by reducing tariffs and give Portuguese wines preferential treatment in the British wine market over French wines. Around this time, the fortified wine known as Portwas increasing in popularity in Britain. The lucrative trade in Port prompted the Portuguese authorities to establish one of the world's first protected designation of origin when Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal established boundaries and regulations for the production of authentic Port from the Douro in 1756.[1]

 
TRANSFER FROM LISBON TO PORTO: On April 2, we were bused from Lisbon to Porto with a visit to Qta do Valle do Riacho winery for wine tasting and snacks on cheese and crackers. We were introduced to the winemaker and the general manager of the winery.
We had a lunch stop and a short time for shopping and/or exploration at Nazare, a seaside resort town of 15,000 residents.
Once we arrived in Porto, we embarked on the new riverboat, the AMAVIDA.  Sharon Stone had just finished with the inauguration of this riverboat a few days prior to our arrival.  After registering in at reception, we were escorted to our staterooms.   We were served dinner with wine after our introduction to the riverboat's staff in the lounge. However, we were also the recipient of bad news, as the Douro River was flooded from the heavy rain during the past week, the owner told us he was not sure whether we would be able to do the cruise.  There were three riverboats docked side-by-side, and the river was not occupied by any moving boats.  It didn't look too promising.   
The next day, on April 3, we enjoyed a city tour by bus with some walking in the rain.  It gave us a good over-all perspective of this hilly city of Porto (north bank) and Gaia (south bank), with most of the port wineries fronting the river.    
Porto is located along the Douro river with a population of 1.7 million inhabitants, and the second largest city in Portugal.  Its settlement dates back many centuries as a Roman outpost, and its Latin name, Portus Cale is the origin for the name “Portugal.”  It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.  On the old cities summit stands the 12th century Se Cathedral with its original nave and twin towers.  From the cathedral's terrace, the steep slope looks down to the river and the Barredo district with its maze of narrow alleys and steps down to the river.  At the ground level by the river, one can find locals selling linens, crafts, jewelry, and sunglasses.  The waterfront has been renovated, and people come to eat, drink, shop and take the excursion boats.  Our hotel, the Pestana Porto, where we stayed on our last night in Porto is located at the center of the historic core by the river with easy access to city center, and the Gaia by walking on the lower level (and upper level) of the Dom Luis I bridge.   

Information on Se Cathedral (from Wiki).
Architecture  The architecture style of the Se Cathedral is Portuguese-Manueline. The exterior is Tuscan, whereas the interior is Corinthian.
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
    
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Wine tasting at Sandeman Winery and on the boat

 
 
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Famous bookstore in Porto

 
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Our tour of Braga
 
     
 
 
 
 
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Tour of Aveiro and Costa Nova 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 
 
 

  

  
 


 
 

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Dinner at Convento de Alpendurada *A special event on this cruise
The port wine flowed freely.

 
 

 
 
 

 
 
  

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We traveled to Penafiel, about 10 miles north of Alpendurada (where we had dinner the previous night), and visited the Aveleda Winery and gardens before returning to Porto by bus.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 
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EXCELLENT NEWS FROM THE OWNER ON THE LAST NIGHT ON AMAVIDA
Because of the heavy rains and the government authorities not allowing any boats to sail on the Douro River, the owner apologized to us, and said he was giving all of us a 100% credit towards another AMA Waterways cruise - good until December 31, 2015.   I almost cried; they did everything they could under the circumstances by providing us with tours to other locations by bus, giving us unlimited port wine during lunch and dinner, winery visits, and entertainment aboard the boat.   They're a first class act that overwhelms me with gratitude and appreciation for AMA Waterways.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 


   
 
 
 
 

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