2nd November 2017 – 6th November 2017
The reason why we headed west from Salamanca and not travel through Spain to the South was because David had always wanted to drive along the Douro River in Portugal. We needed afew groceries so we stopped very near the border, these places always remind me of the Wild West somehow, an outpost in the middle of nowhere. Well I wish there were more of these outposts because they sold Heinz Baked Beans cheaper than France and a Litre of Absolute vodka for €12.40 ! We loaded up and we were on our way. We drove through the terrible devastation of the forest fires, we had heard about them but to see the landscape barren and black is a very sad sight to witness and must have been horrendous for the local people. We headed to the small town of Lamego as a base for the Douro valley and stayed up in the hills in a lovely site, with piped Portuguese music from 8.30am which wasn’t so nice ! Lamego is a must see if you are anywhere near for the sight of Santuario dos Remedios. A shrine high above the town, which dominates the landscape. Inside it is a calm and tranquil place to visit, David waited outside with Chloe, all churched out ! We walked down the steps to the town, had a mooch round sat and had 2 coffees and 2 cakes all for €3.40, I thought the waitress had made a mistake. Amazing how much things cost when you are not in a tourist area. The climb back up to the top of Santuario dos Remedios all 686 steps took a while, we are so unfit. I though my heart was going to burst out of my chest.
After a good nights sleep and the lovely music to wake us up we headed east along the Douro Valley. It is beautiful sight and with the autumn turn the changing colours of the vines made it even more spectacular. We parked up and had lunch beside the river in the sunshine. I do drive the motorhome but mainly on motorways as the smaller roads freek me out, especially when the roads are only wide enough for one vehicle. In the afternoon we had two near misses with lorries on blind bends, hats off to David for keeping his cool. We started to make our way to a place to stay for the night, right next to the Douro River, our Snooper Sat-Nav, which in theory should know our Motorhome size and weight took us down what I can only describe as farm track through a forest. I was screaming to David, don’t go down here, don’t go down there, but we did. I was gripping the seat, with my eyes shut and prayed. All I was worried about was, were we ever going to get out again. We finally came through it, mud all up the sides of the Motorhome and finally found where we should be staying and parked alongside the Douro River with not a sound to be heard except for the church bells in the distant village. We sat and watched the birds swooping and diving for fish and in the morning we had the company of two cruise boats slowly making their way down the river. It was a beautiful spot to stay but one that will be remembered for the farm track rather than the view.