More blue and white, with a splash of gold

It’s no secret that I love the gentle blue and white of azulejos.  But gold?  That’s where the River Douro glides onto the scene- a golden river.  When I looked out of my bedroom window that first morning in Regua, I was so excited to see the mist swirling delicately at the end of the garden.  I could barely wait for breakfast to head down to the riverside path and the gleaming water.

Sunlight glistens on the water, from the riverside path

I love a stroll- don’t you?

I planned to see as much of the river as I could, but was thwarted at the outset.  The boat to Barca D’Alva at the Spanish border was not running.  It was low season and there was no longer a demand.  I resigned myself to following the river upstream on the train- no real hardship as, from Peso da Regua to Pocinho, the tracks hug the river bank.  First stop, delightful Pinhao, sleepy in the morning sunshine.

A barco rabelo awaits passengers at Pinhao

Of course, you know what else I found, don’t you?

A railway station covered in azulejos- perfection! (Michael’s photo, this one)

And then you have the splash of golden yellow, too

I so love these boats- one day I’ll have these tiles on my Tavira home

The wine harvest

More boats- what else?

I couldn’t resist a sashay through the fabulous Vintage Hotel, and even an expensive glass of wine on the terrace. (Michael blanched at the price, but you only live once, don’t you?)  Couldn’t afford twice!

The Vintage Hotel, Pinhao

Just to prove I was there

A novel ticket sales office

The occasional boat disturbed the peace

Time to get back on the train for the ride up to Pocinho, through increasingly rugged territory.  Apologies for the blurry images out of the train window.  I had to try.

At Pocinho we hopped off the train and back on again, as the sun was starting to sink.  Just time to capture a quick azulejo on the platform.

On Pocinho platform

Regua, as the sun sets on the Sandemans figure on the hillside

Azulejo, Peso da Regua-style

With a train strike in the offing and a shortage of boats, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back to Porto.  Luck was on my side, however, and Tomaz do Douro came to my rescue.  On the quayside the crew were readying the “Via Douro” for departure.  She was unbelievably beautiful!

Via Douro with tiny Porto Cruz moored alongside

All aboard!

Porto Cruz pulls away and we’re ready to cruise

Those last 3 photos are Michael’s.  I seem to have done something strange to my camera in the excitement of the moment, and launched into landscape mode!

Never mind!  The next 6 hours will forever be etched on my memory.  In the company of a young American couple (who later revealed that they were on the last day of their honeymoon!) we dined very nicely indeed, and exchanged travel tales, while gazing out at the sublime scenery.

The deepest lock in Europe provided hoots of laughter as we were briefly splattered with water in passing underneath.  Then the wonderful moment of sailing into Porto itself.  The sun sparkled on the quayside, and Porto rose majestically above us.

Sailing beneath Dom Luis Bridge, the walls and funicular

Moored at the quayside, the former Royal Barge, Spirit of Chartwell

What a journey!  What an ending!  I hoped you enjoyed sharing it with me.  For yet more blue and white, my previous post focuses on azulejos in Porto.   https://restlessjo.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/simply-beautiful-blue-and-white/

45 comments

  1. Stunning scenery. Ddin’t realise the Douro was so spectacular. What a wonderful boat trip and a glorious re-entry into Porto.

    I love that railways station two with its azulejos. Reminds me of the one at Olhao (probably because of the spelling too!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s