Douro Valley

View of the Douro from the van travelling the narrow road…

On Saturday we continued our journey in the direction of Pinhão following the valley of the Douro river. This is a very steep valley with narrow roads. It was also very beautiful but very scary. Did I mention it was very steep? So steep you couldn’t see the river from up there.

The town on the valley is called Pinhão

And busy. Lots of cars behind us, looking like they were ready to pass if only there was room. There were no places wide enough for us to stop and let them pass so we all had to wait. We drove on until we reached the river at the base of the valley, the Douro.

Train tracks and boat wash

This valley is where all the grapes to produce port are grown. And traditionally wooden boats (now repurposed for tourist river trips) took the grapes (or maybe it was the pressed grapes?) to Porto to be proceessed. Much like Champagne, only port with grapes grown in this valley can be called port. Imagine that!

The wooden boats formerly used to carry the grapes to Porto

Anyway we kept going down, down, down to the valley floor. All the time I was hopeful there was a nice wide road back up for later… and it was a bit wider and less busy. If you look at the map of Portugal and find the Douro, you will see the road hugging the river. Every turn, every bend all the way to the town of Peso da Régua, where we took a break for lunch.

Can you see Ruby’s parking space to the right of the big cruise boat?

As we were passing the Museum of the Duoro we took a look at their restaurant but it was set up for dinner but I just wanted a sandwich. We kept going just stopping long enough to take a picture. The back gate of the museum led out on to a side street and a nice man smiled at us and I don’t know how it happened but next thing we are sitting in his restaurant ordering lunch. Not sandwich lunch, no – pork chops, salad and chips lunch!

And the sun shone…

It was divine. I hadn’t realised how hungry fear of heights makes me. We probably would have had enough in one portion between two but on the other hand we left a few chips and we didn’t eat all the bread or the olives or the bowl of rice. Yes, must remember next time a nice man invitees us to his restaurant – just order one portion. And the cost €25 total, including water.

The train passes in front of that cute house every day. I suppose they get used to it?

We waddled back to the van very slowly.