We pulled away from the dock at 7:30 am while it was still dark. Soon though, we could watch the scene on the banks of the Douro. Terraced areas, some productive, some not, different kinds of houses and vegetation. Soon the rain was pouring down, so the scenery lost a lot of colour and definition. We went through the first lock very early, then had a briefing on what to expect this week. The second lock is the highest in Europe at 35 metres. We braved the rain for a few moments to experience the size of it. One thing that amazed all of us was the tiny amount of clearance on each side of the boat. The captain has spotters signalling the distance to the walls -- no lasers or other hi-tech aids.
Larry and I opted for a light lunch in the lounge while the others went for the fuller buffet in the dining room. The food is very good and we thought we might do better with more limited choices (ie perhaps not pig out quite as much). We had the lounge to ourselves.
Later in the afternoon we moored in Regua and went ashore to visit a vineyard. We rode in large buses over narrow, twisty roads, then up a tiny, cobbled switchback access road to Qunita do Seixo, a large producer of port wines.
I think we all gasped a few tiems as we realized there were no guardrails, and very long steep drops. The don met us in the traditional cape and hat (looking like Zorro) that are the trademarks of the industry. He showed us through the production areas and then we each got 2 glasses -- one of white and one red port. Most of us were OK with the white but the few who could handle the red each got to polish off several servings.
Back in Regua we spent a very pleasant half hour or so at the Douro Museum learning about the region and the wines, then returned to the ship.
The after-dinner entertainment was a great fado/traditional singing group. Really, really enjoyable. At the end they had everyone up dancing in a "train" until we were laughing breathlessly.
Link to All Photos for 8 October