Sept.17, 2022-The Douro Valley

We took in our bus to the town of “Chaves” today. The name means “Key.”

We walked around the small town for a little while. We passed innumerable fields of corn on the way there. I got an idea for a love story as we drove through the country side.

We crossed over an ancient Roman bridge on foot. The small river down below was moving slowly on its way to the sea.

We walked the main street to the Roman baths that were discovered while builders were digging the foundation for a new building. Needless to say, the building was erected else ware.

There were large areas of the baths exposed and water still spills into them from the hot springs below.

There were many ancient items on display under glass as well as larger statues and photos in this large, black walled room. The displays were very well done. This is what I travel for. I love to see different, interesting and ancient items on display for us to learn from.

We then walked the to the well preserved fort. We passed through a plaza being filled with chairs for an event later that night.

We passed the well preserved turret of the old fort and my wife took many photos. The grounds are now a well maintained garden. Cannons over look the the city and woods below them waiting for the enemy that hopefully will never materialize. They are now long dead and forgotten by most people living here.

We then returned to the bus and drove off. We soon found our destination for lunch, close by. We then split the group in half. We ate in two different homes. One half went to one woman’s home and the other half went to her cousins home just a hundred yards away down the street. The houses in this neighborhood are very modern.

The food was wonderful with with several appetizers as usual and a main course. We had the famous Portuguese desert of a small flaky crust cup filled with custard and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

The son of our hostess gave us lessons in the Portuguese language which is very old and different from any other language. Portugal was the first “country” of Europe.

After a leisurely, interesting and pleasant visit we boarded our bus for Lamego in the Douro Valley.

It is a valley indeed, with a broad river flowing through it. The valley is wide and deep in some areas with vineyards climbing all over with high and steep valley’s hillsides.

This area is one of the oldest wine producing areas in the world and is famous for its Port wine.

The bus winds its way through the valley’s narrow roads and passes over the high sweeping bridges made of concrete with wonderful views of the hills around us. At times the view is reminiscent of one from an airplane.

Our hotel is a modern, low lying, angular building with one of the best views of a landscape I have ever seen. The lobby’s walls are mostly glass to take in the view. The river lies below us with vineyards climbing up the hills across from us.

The site for the hotel is carved out of the hill and we are now below the road that we came in on and our bus.

We swam in the large pool for a moment this afternoon. It was not heated and I don’t do cold water very well, sadly. We tried it later as well. I am not one to give up on a thing easily. I stayed i the water until my wife was satisfied with my attempt. But I do understand when I have been beaten.

Our room has a great view of the vineyards laid out in the hills below and above us.

Fireworks went off on the other side of the valley this evening with bursts of color against the dark night sky and the vineyards now lying in shadows. It was a fine sight.

We have plenty of English language television channels to choose from here. That hasn’t always been the case, but we have been very lucky as far as hotels go.

We have stayed in great hotels, had very good meals and have had good company from our fellow travelers along the way on this adventure.

Seafood and pork are not in short supply which is fine by me, but others may like a little more variety, so be aware of that if you are not fan. I can eat anything and at least will give it a try.

The weather has been perfect, even with a few days of rain. The rain keeps this part of the world green and lush.

It stays dark here later in the mornings compared to Southern California or so it seems to me.

We are still being bombarded by the news of the Queens death, but it is to be expected as it is an historic event for England and the world.

We will have to bare with it until the ceremonies are over and she is finally left to lie in peace.

Surely the news hounds will find something else to talk about after she is laid to her rest and forgotten by them if not the people of England and others.

“Sunrise, Sunset,” my book of ten short stories is now an Audible book.