From Peterborough (Ontario) to Quinta da Boa Viagem (very near Viana do Castelo) in 13 hours. The place here is very lovely. José Queiroz (the owner) is a descendant of the man who first established the estate in 1512. On Senhor Queiroz’s recommendation, we had lunch in town at O Pescador where we shared a whole robalho do mar grelhado with a bottle of vinho verde branco da casa. The meal was absolutely delicious – a great start to our visit.
Monday, 6 October 2008
We drove along the Rio Lima from Viana do Castelo to Ponte da Barca on the south shore (following N203) and returned on the north shore (on N202). It is a beautiful, scenic drive – highly recommended! Not to mention a superb lunch at O Matadouro, just outside the town of Arcos de Valdevez. After sharing excellent pataniscas de bacalhau, Steve had arroz do tamboril and Susan had espetada de lulas com gambas. Everything was accompanied by a perfectly acceptable vinho verde branco da casa.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
The day (and previous night) started out badly, with heavy rain and wind. News reports headlined the mau tempo in the northwest. But, by 10am, the rain had stopped, so we drove up to Monção, on the Rio Minho (almost as far north as you can go in Portugal). By the time we reached there, the sun was shining. Back to Vila Nova de Cerveira for a nice lunch at O Cantinho dos Amigos (more grilled fish and vinho verde – darn!). Since the weather had turned (in the morning we thought the day was a write-off!), we set off cross-country (which is our preferred way to travel) to Ponte de Lima, where we had stopped briefly the previous day. Ponte de Lima is the oldest town in Portugal. And, it is lovely. We spent the rest of the afternoon there, enjoying the gardens.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
We spent the day in and around Viana do Castelo (we are staying just north of there). It is an interesting town, located where the Rio Lima empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
A travel day, as we move from Viana do Castelo to the Douro (south of Penafiel).
Friday, 10 October 2008
We didn’t do much except enjoy this beautiful day. Abôl de Baixa is a lovely, quiet spot with some great views. And, there are no other guests here (until Saturday, when we are leaving), so we have the entire place to ourselves. We did go out for lunch at Restaurante Dorna Velha (in Oldrões), which was disappointing. It wasn’t bad (we’ve only ever had one bad meal in Portugal that we can remember), but we’ve had better.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Another transition day, as we move from the Douro to the Tejo (perhaps the two greatest rivers in Portugal). Our initial drive went through some spectacular country, along the south side of the Douro to Cinfães and then southeast to Castro Daire (where we stopped and had lunch. After that, we picked up the autostrada and went east·south·west around the formidable Serra da Estrela to Quinta de Coalhos, where we have stayed several times.