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Published: April 30th 2018
Friday, Day 4: Mike and I awoke early this morning in our “hunting villa in the sky“ and decided to explore a bit before breakfast. Tia Wendy was busy in the kitchen. Insisting that she didn’t need help, we were given coffee and encouraged to wander. What a cool place this is! We found a circular stairway that lead us to the uppermost floor, used as their grand party room. With windows all around, we could see a bagillion little towns tucked in the crevasses of the mountains. In the center of the room, there was another stairway leading up the the rooftop. Not wanting to overstep, literally and figuratively, we decided to ask Pedro to take us up after breakfast.
By 8:30am, the crew had assembled in the breakfast room. A wonderful meal had been laid out for us. What fun to sit and chat over coffee with Pedro. Since childhood, it seems that he has had the interest and abilities needed to take over the family business. Now, at 27, he was really quite impressive. Wanting to see the rest of the house but needing to be in Pinhão by 10am for our boat ride down the Douro,
Pedro collected us and brought us to the top. Just when we thought the views couldn’t get any better...
Back at the van, Glen, Karen, Gary, Marji, Mike and I hugged and kissed our goodbyes to Tia Wendy. We could not thank Wendy and Pedro enough for their hospitality. With Pedro in the lead, Glen navigated back down the twisty-turny mountain to the dock where we boarded the Friendship I. Bye bye Pedro, hope to see you in the US sometime.
How do you perfectly finish a four day adventure in Porto and the Douro Valley? A two hour boat ride, of course! The ship itself was a refurbished river patrol boat from the Portuguese army and she was all shiny wood and gorgeous. The six of us started out sitting in the sun on the bow, where we were served a light white wine from the area. Fruit and cheese was brought out later because, hey, we hadn’t eaten in 3 hours and were wasting away. So tranquil, we saw only one or two other boats, and two paddle boarders as we floated down then back up the river. The trip was over too quickly.
back in the van, with Mike in the drivers’ seat, our band of happy humans hit the road. Many, many thanks to Marji and Total Wine for putting this together. Words cannot express, as the saying goes.
Next stop, Coimbra. A little later than planned, a late lunch and a quick explore of the college was all we could squeeze in for the day. The car had to be returned and the clock was ticking. Coimbra University is the country’s oldest university, founded in 1290. After scaling the steps to the top of the hill, we crossed the more modern campus to the Iron Gates of the old university courtyard. The students wear these cool Zorro uniforms of all black suits and capes, a throwback from the Jesuits to equalize the people. A group of young students were flirting with a group of touring High school girls and agreed to pose for a picture. Thanks, boys! Another Hogwarts moment, for me. Sadly, we needed to leave without getting to explore the town.
Back in the van, Mike drove us to Lisbon and our home for just a few more days. How can that be?
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