Cruisin’ Up the River

17 September 2019

We left Miramar early(ish) in order to drive along the scenic Douro River Valley. The home of many a fine port wine and vineyards as far as they eye can see, and beyond.

But it was a misty morning and that little church down on the beach was beckoning. To photograph, not to enter!

As you know, I have a thing for travelling the road less trodden and up until a few days ago, we had agreed that this was the best way to see the country.

Despite the obvious problems earlier in our trip, (once we got the car back), we persisted with our plan and to be perfectly honest, it’s been a bit of a failure!

The back roads of Portugal were pretty ordinary and it took two to three times longer to get anywhere. TomTom and Google Maps often didn’t agree and we ended up going the most circuitous route to get from A to B, with a few arguments between Pilot and Co-Pilot thrown in.

So a few days ago we ditched that plan and did the A to B thing via the motorway/ tollway. Less stress, less time, and less money in our bank account.

Today was the day to throw caution to the wind again and head up river on the scenic back roads of the Douro. Great decision!

Thou shall not enter!!

Around every twist and turn there was something to see and now Mithyl is getting very good at mimicking my Aussie accent when declaring “Wow, that’s amazing”!

A popular “experience” for tourists from Lisbon is to cruise up the river , spend the day wine tasting and cruise back down to Lisbon, minus a few dollars and bags full of wine.

That’s not our style. Have Peugeot, will do our own cruisin’ thank you!

We stopped off at a vineyard near Pinhāo for a little port tasting session. The port was delicious but fairly expensive given we only had a mouthful in each of our four glasses.

It was a pleasant visit despite having to keep on the move.

Every spare bit of land was covered in vines as far as the eye could see. That’s a lot of port!!

Rows and rows and rows

Our time in Portugal had come to an end. It was time to start heading towards France , which meant tollways, motorways and Spain.

We had a late lunch in a little cafe where once again we could admire a tile of two over a ham and cheese sandwich and a glass of wine.

The road out of the valley was equally stunning and we all agreed it was a beautiful drive and well worth the time and ( Grahame’s) effort.

We had a little giggle when we came across some roadworks. The light was red, so we stopped. A road worker came along, and started dragging the light up the road. Do we stay where we had stopped, or do we follow the red light up the road? We chose the latter, as the poor bloke carted his heavy load up hill.

Chasing red lights

It was a long afternoon driving and we arrived in León Spain, late in the evening. We were relieved to arrive at our Airbnb and have a quick dinner before hitting the sack.

Please note: that’s two whole days without setting foot in a fort, a church or a palace. Some kind of record.!!

Buenas noches from León.

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