Douro Valley- the Land of Port and Ugal

One of the main attractions of the Porto area is the Douro Valley, where vineyards are as prolific as a politician’s lies, which is an apt metaphor because they both produce a product that provides feelings of euphoria for some, but also nausea and vomiting if you’ve swallowed too much of it.

img_3389It truly is a beautiful place, as these pictures will attest. We simply drove around, taking in the seemingly endless hills of vineyards. The only negative to the whole trip was the lunch we designated as our anniversary lunch. While the food in Portugal is generally awesome, this one meal happened to be the worst we’ve had (there has to be a worst one, right?). We both had cod, and it tasted very much the way the big flats of cod smell in the supermarket, which attracts flies like politician’s — oh wait, I already used that metaphor. The next day we went to a restaurant in Porto, and decided to replace the dinner as our anniversary meal. Lo and behold, it was probably the best meal we’ve had since we’ve been here! Which means, in the end, the food there was just average for us. Ha!

Anyway, without further ado, we bring you… Douro Valley.

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Apparently there is a problem with dogs raiding the vineyards. Someone must’ve shot these three interlopers and just left the carcasses there!
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There were three bridges in a row, all of which were at what might be called “suicide height.” The one we were standing on was made of wood, with relatively thin boards (at least for an acrophobe given the height), and gaps where you could see the water below. Way, way, below. After taking this selfie, I got the hell off of there. I’m too large to trust my bulk to some strips of wood.
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Carolyn has no such fears; she stayed to capture this lovely shot.
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Bridge of the Day.
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Under-bridge of the Day.
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A photo of two highly regarded vintages: the port, and the wife.
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This is where they store the port as it ferments. In a Mr. Bean movie, he would open that door and the chamber would be full. Hilarity ensues.
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It seemed like every available piece of dirt was used for vineyards. Everywhere we went, vineyards, vineyards, vineyards.

Marcia

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The sample sizes they offered during the wine tasting (well, port tasting) were plenty ample, obviously.
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I think she was expecting to have port raining from the ceilings. I wish it had because we could’ve sued them for staining our clothes. We would’ve had ’em over a barrel.
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No, we didn’t buy all three of these bottles. We’re not drunkards, for Pete’s sake. We just drank ’em dry during the visit.
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 The Portuguese are experts at erecting buildings on hillsides. They’d have to be, otherwise there would be almost no buildings!
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Port meets portly.
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Just beautiful scenery everywhere you go. Except when you go, you know, to the casa de banho.
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Quinta means “farm” or “estate.” I think the name of this winery translates to: “Estate of the Teddy Bear.” Except the bird ate the bear, which made a kid cry incessantly, which made the parents drink a lot. It all ties together, you see. You have to do some digging to get this stuff.
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What tedoing there?

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Simply contemplating all the beauty I just saw.

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On the way back, we were subjected to the hardest rainstorm either of us have been in, especially for such a protracted time. The rain got so bad, we took a cue from some other drivers and parked under an underpass to wait it out. It went on for so long we started making out because, hey, it was our anniversary.

And yes, there is such a thing as a “ugal.” It is an Indonesian instrument, played with a small hammer. Indeed, it’s a little known fact that Port didn’t get its name from Portugal, it was the other way around. Someone named Hyierin Lisboa was playing an ugal in a bar in a little town on the coast, and some drunkard stumbled over the thing and spilled an entire bottle of port everywhere. When he came to, they asked him if he knew where he was, and he could only drunkenly stammer, “Hyierin…. Lisboa… Port… Ugal…”

And it stuck!

Anyway, now you can use this picture combination next time you’re playing picture-charades and get the word Portugal! You see, this blog is not only informative, it helps you with games that don’t really exist!

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