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Chapter Fifteen: Rolling On The Douro

Falling For Portugal: A Mai Tai Tom “Trip” Report

Chapter Fifteen: Rolling On The Douro

Day Sixteen: To Everything Turn Turn Turn, Any Port In A Heatwave, Glorious Gardens, Casa Tour, More Bats?!, Getting Supplies, This Is The Way To Live, An “Appetizing” Dinner and The Cat’s Meow

A quick breakfast at Quinta de la Rosa …


… and on a beautiful Sunday morning, we hopped in the car for the 12-minute drive across the river to our next lodging, Quinta do Pego.  I had wanted to stay a total of three nights at either one of them, however both only had two night stays available, and since there had been so much discussion as to which quinta was best, I thought I’d just throw in that extra day.


Getting to Quinta do Pego presented a minor driving challenge (especially for the driving challenged). A twisting one lane private road for Pego guests takes you up from the Karen Valentine Highway to the hotel. At either end of the driveway is a light that either displays green or red to alert you if another car has already started in the opposite direction. As my travel board friend Maribel warned me before our trip, “Sometimes they don’t work.” Hey, what could go wrong?

The light showed green, so I carefully navigated the pretzel-like drive up the hill, not wanting to either (1) scrape the retaining wall on one side or (2) plummet to our ultimate demise on the other. While the others huddled in prayer, I slowly made the hairpin turns, and somehow reached the top with no problem. “See,” I told everyone, “sometimes those church visits come in handy.”

Since it was early our rooms were not ready yet, but we did scope out the infinity pool and some of the property …


… as well as the vista from outside our room. Beautiful, it was.

More confidently, but still a tad concerned, back down the driveway I drove, and in a few minutes we were safely on the road toward Peso da Régua and its Museu do Douro, where would learn a little about the history of Wine production in the Douro Valley.

Just a little outside of town, dozens of cars were parked alongside the river, and soon we passed the Barragem da Régua (Régua Dam), which obviously is a tourist attraction. Why, I don’t know. There’s nothing that stands out about it, plus, outside of Hoover Dam, I don’t find them very interesting, but I’ll be dammed if others do.

We checked out the nearly 300-foot tall Miguel Torga Bridge as we approached Peso da Régua.


Unlike the towns from the prior day, there was lots of traffic in Peso da Régua, so we parked a few blocks from the museum. The walk was interesting as we passed a number of hand-painted picture azulejos on the way.


Housed in a former wine warehouse on the riverfront, the Museu do Douro costs €6 (€3 for seniors), but if we paid full boat (Douro humor) we could have a glass of ten-year old port.


We did just that, admiring the views from the terrace onto the River Douro.


The museum, celebrating its 25th birthday in 2022, has a number of wine making exhibits and displays.


As we climbed the stairs we changed the lyrics of 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall …


… to something more suitable.

We gazed at implements used in the growing of grapes on those steep hillsides that we traversed the day before at the Val de Inferno.

There were also short films about the people who do all the hard labor,


When they say vintage bottles, they really mean it.

Also on display were some paintings from Portuguese celebrated contemporary artist Armanda Passos. In February 2022, the museum honored her with the Armanda Passos Room.


All in all, the museum was mildly interesting, but I think I’ve now seen as many wine museums as I need to go to. I still remain more interested in drinking wine.

Our next stop would be a mystery for me. I had read conflicting reviews abut visiting Fundação da Casa de Mateus. Some people raved about the house and gardens, while others said the tour was rather boring. I’m glad I listened to the positive reviews, because it was an interesting, fun and enlightening experience.

Casa de Mateus, an 18th-century Baroque-influenced palace (more like a manor house), is located a little less than half an hour from Peso do Régua. If you happened to have a bottle of Mateus Rosé in your life (I think I had one glass in the 80s), you might remember it had a palace on the label. This is that palace, although Mateus wine is not produced here.

We  had a half hour tour scheduled at 1 p.m. and got there about a half hour early so we could explore the expansive gardens that surround the palace.

On another hot October day, we were surprised at the amount of color still seen in the garden.


The arches of bushes and  trees provided some much-needed shade.


This post first appeared on Travels With Mai Tai Tom, please read the originial post: here

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Chapter Fifteen: Rolling On The Douro


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