Saturday October 11 -- Vega de Terron to Pinhao (Castelo Rodrigo)

Saturday October 11 -- Vega de Terron to Pinhao (Castelo Rodrigo)
They let us sleep in a bit this  morning since we were not travelling as far on our tour of the day. Again, though, it was along twisty narrow roads rising quickly into the rocky hills. The vistas were magnificent. Soon we could see the ruins of Castelo Rodrigo on the top of one of the high hills. Around us were olive and cork trees and we learned about how these and almonds are harvested.
The historic village of Castelo Rodrigo is a fortified medieval settlement with stone houses and steep cobbled streets.

The castle was ruined by the local inhabitants because its owner was a supporter of Spain when Portugal had just achieved independence after 60 years as a part of Spain. At the gate were two buildings of great interest: one selling all kinds of cork products (I bought a ring and small purse) and the other offering samples of local wine, port, almonds, figs and hazel nuts. We enjoyed them all and Larry bought some almonds. On the trip back we could see people harvesting olives in one of the groves.

This afternoon Lainie taught a new game, Dix Mille, to a few of us and we played a couple of games of it in the lounge. The evening at Quinta da Avessada was certainly one of the high points of the trip. The ride there was another of those hair-raising performances of switchbacks, narrow roads, big buses and no guardrails. This Quinta is above the altitude limit for Port production, [500M] so they use a similar process and make muscatel. The main difference, we were told, is that they age it in oak forever, while Port is aged in the bottle [with some exceptions]. Our host provided a comic and informative overview of the production process,

 the history of the company and family, and the wonderful meal we were enjoying. A 3-piece band featuring accordion and percussion provided a lively accompaniment to the visit. We were tired out when we got back to the ship at 11.


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