Thursday October 9 -- Regua to Vega de Terron

Thursday October 9 -- Regua to Vega de Terron
We were on the buses early to go to Lamego. This small pilgrimage town sits on the side of a hill, with the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies at the top and 868 steps down to the main street.

We started at the top, admiring the beauty of the shrine, then walked down, zig-zagging back and forth across the face of the hill. We stopped near the bottom for a taste of local sparkling wine and sandwiches and a quiche-like snack.

The weekly open market was in progress -- mostly cheap clothing and shoes. I laughed at the nice looking hoodies that read "Aerospatiale Nwe York". Should have bought one! A few people found interesting things in the shops along the street. At the end, our meeting place, was an ancient Cistercian Monastery, now a very interesting museum. I was particularly interested in the fabulous textiles -- the heavily-embroidered ecclesiastical robes and the huge Brussels tapestries.
The buses took us to Valeira, where the boat had moved, and we immediately left the dock. Cathy had organized for the Intrepids to eat lunch on the protected deck area in front of the dining room. It was a nice environment and a very pleasant meal. They cooked up a special serving of pasta carbonara for me, sans garlic. Gotta love that! (Any pretense of restraint is now right out the window.)
After lunch we watched the delicate operation of entering a lock, from the Sun Deck.

Shortly afterward, the crew lowered the shelter and all other projecting things on the deck and told us all to sit. We did, then we ducked and crouched as we passed under an extremely low bridge. It was a startling moment!
 We were invited to the lounge for ice cream sundaes. We all protested, then dove in. really good.

The scenery along this stretch of the river is breath-taking -- steep rocky sides interspersed with forested slopes and terrraced vineyards. Another lock, and then in late afternoon the end of the navigable portion of the the Douro. We docked at Vega de Terron, on the Spanish side of the border.
The Captain's cocktail party and dinner were very enjoyable. A highlight was the Gangnam Style dance by the staff as they presented the Baked Alaska Dessert. We sang Happy Birthday to the Captain who will turn 32 tomorrow.  [Back to the room, pretty nice digs]

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