Douro River

Salamanca, Spain

Wine Estate


August 2015

In late August 2015, Kathy and I went on a tour of Portugal. We first went to the island of Madeira for 3 days. Then we spent 3 days in Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese). After that we drove north to Porto and boarded the river boat Douro Spirit for a week long river cruise on the Douro River. The river rises in Spain and crosses Portugal, reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Porto. The upper portion of the river is where the grapes are grown to make Port wine.

Portugal Ship

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When we checked into our hotel in Madeira, we were impressed. We had a view of the pool and of the Atlantic Ocean. Here is a "normal" photo of the pool and a surrealistic one.

Madeira hotel pool Sureal hotel

Here are some more pictures from Madeira.

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After Madeira, we flew to Lisbon and checked into the Pestana Palace hotel. It had extensive grounds with lots of trees and flowers. A couple of times we had lunch outdoors on the patio.

Lisbon 1 Lisbon 2
Lisbon 3 Lisbon 4

Here are more pictures from Lisbon.

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The next morning we set sail on the Douro river, heading upriver. The water was glassy and the river banks were green.

Duoro 1 Duoro 2

We explored some towns along the river.

Here are some pictures of the towns and wineries.

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One day (with the boat docked across the border in Spain) we had a full day tour of Salamanca, Spain (2 hours drive from the boat). The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1134, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university, but the first to be given its status by Pope Alexander IV who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca.

Here are some pictures of the town square and city hall.

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The next day we headed back down river towards Porto. At 10:00 we left the boat and took busses up very steep hills to the town of Favios. This town has a co-op where all the farmers bring their grapes to be crushed and made into Moscatel wine. The village is dedicated to producing wine and everyone has some role in growing the special grapes, making the wine, and bottling or in baking the bread that goes with it so well. The girl in the black shirt gave us a tour of the co-op and we had a sample of the wine; then we went to one of the bakeries and sampled the bread hot from the oven.

Duoro 3 Duoro 4

In the afternoon we headed to the Avessada Wine Estate.

Here are some pictures of the that outing.

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On our final day, the boat returned to Porto. There we saw interesting bridges, colorful houses and boats, blue and white tiled walls.

Porto 1 Porto 2
Porto 3 Porto 4

And then we flew home. It had been a great trip.

C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at"
updated January 19, 2017