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Published: October 8th 2022
Actually in a lock as I type so not expecting to be able to post for a while. From memory the gorges will feature as the predominant landscape soon and that too will preclude posting so again it may be typing time for a while and possibly posting time quickly when I can.
It’s just after breakfast, it’s always just after some meal or just before another meal when on board. It’s coolish but not cold, I’m getting dripped on from the lock wall but we’ve just started to move so the drips will be ancient history, now are ancient history. Temperature today is expected to get to 30 degrees and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Me and all my friends (well one of them) are on the top deck for the lock process. I fully expect 4 English women to assume their positions soonish as they come and lay in the sun each and every day. Often they do not go on excursions, they are always seen as a foursome, always sit in the same place for all meals and are obviously as thick as thieves together. The oldest of them, could even be the mum of
2 others, has that brown leather skin that has seen too much sun and a figure that looks a bit like a match with the wood scrapped off.
Cruising again and it’s delightful. Big day yesterday took a toll on a few. There were noticeably fewer at evening meal and the tone in the lounge well it wasn’t exactly ‘funerial’ but if it weren’t for my paisley pants and Lee’s colourful pants and the fact we were the only ones on the dance floor it could have been the ‘old folks home’. Not really true as some have plenty of get up and go. Richard and Gayle, a delightful couple are well into their 80’s and they give some half their age a good run.
Losing the sun behind the steep hills so I may need my coat. Lee is still asleep so I’m loath to go and get it but even I draw the line at wrapping myself in a towel up here.
No Burcher muesli this morning and no sparkling as compensation either so I’ve not started in my usual manner. So it may be a grumpy blog!
It was almost midnight when I
went to bed last night although the last hour was blog time, sudoku and the news and today’s itinerary is very low key with just a short afternoon excursion. Obviously we are travelling back downstream, although it does take some reorientation to believe we are. We’ll see the same sights in reverse (well not in reverse! But in reverse order.) but because I’m a creature of some habit I tend to gravitate towards the port side and as such I’ll at least see a different bank. It’s almost 9 o’clock and hence time to check if Lee wants breakfast in bed and still I’m the only one on deck apart from an idle crewmen or two. The pace is very leisurely and even the sun has reappeared. So temporary break time.
Jobs done so I’m back in position. Tony and Sue have taken my spot but… Only 5 people on deck, probably 100 seats and they take mine. Told you I may be grumpy!
Back into terraced vineyards as the dominant landscape. There is a train line cut into the hills but I’m pretty sure it longer runs. Despite the picturesque nature of the line and the fact
that there were blue tile murals of trains at the last port and that our guide waxes lyrical about them I think the line closed in the late 90’s. It would make an excellent tourist line although the tourist infrastructure here is directed almost solely towards cruise boats. Even in the smallest of ports where there are possibly only one or two small cafes there can be 3 or 4 boats moored. I think the only thing they sell to tourists would be ice-creams and that’s because they are scarce on board. We had some yesterday at the hotel base in Salamanca but it was just OK. In a country that has some excellent desserts and very good gelato the desserts on board have been a little disappointing. That’s possibly a good thing as it may restrict me to the size of a small barn rather than the complete blow out to warehouse size!
A few more souls have emerged from their cabins and ventured on deck. I never think of going to the lounge where they also have a small open to the elements section so there may be a collection of passengers (is there a collective noun
for that?) there. The lounge is comfortable but I associate it with a few drinks late in the evening and the English contingent playing scrabble or cards. The card players were using 2 packs shuffled together otherwise they would have been treated to a display of cards tricks last night. Their loss!
The Douro is tranquil and glassy today. Very little breeze, probably a zephyr at the most and with the sun shining it’s a delightful scene here.
Just asked to leave deck due to super low bridge. The bridge must very low as even the rails have been lowered.
But Lee is conscious and vertical and had 3 cups of tea. I’m worried she turning English. She also coughing a bit so she will be confined to cabin for a while which should have been the case for the person next to us at dinner last night. Poor form from them but…
Lee doesn’t mind missing today’s excursion so being confined to cabin is really no ‘punishment’ or inconvenience at all. We head off to Quinta de Roeda and Regua. The Quinta is obviously a wine making farm. It’s associated with Croft’s port and I
think we get a bit of an insight into the production of port in its various guises. Regua is regarded as the capital of the Douro Valley but it’s dominated by a huge ‘Sandeman’ statue that we saw as we sailed up river. Sandmans is a big port house here. Described as having a lively collection of bars and cafes it’s one of the larger towns that line the river.
Thinking I’m up to date with what’s on and with what’s been on over the last day or so and as such I’ll just look and chat.
Caio for now.
Back in the gorges. Still not allowed on deck. Grumpy man is back! I’m not a big one for laying on my bed and without the upper deck available the lounge deck I assume would be too busy for me so it’s in my cabin and into a comfy but cramped chair. There are no balconies on this boat just large wall to wall windows that slide open. It’s not the same but it’s pretty close. At the moment I can almost touch the bank so we must be letting another ship/boat pass as come to the
lock. Into the lock we go.
Out of the lock we’ve come. Still impressive.
I only have 15 minutes before a ‘what’s on’ briefing so I’ll gather the photos, re-orientate them, caption them and hopefully post.
So really caio for now.
Tricked you. Well it tricked me. There’s no connection presently although the terrain does not appear unfriendly. Time prior to briefing isn’t long so it looks as if that window of opportunity has well and truly shut.
Glorious here at the moment. The sun is getting that kick that I associate with Portugal, the sky remains cloudless and blue and the gentle slap of the Douro on the bow is quite soothing
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