We arrived here at the Douro Marina on Sunday afternoon and were ushered to a 10m pontoon! It was clear they had made a mistake……there was no way a buxom size 14 was going to squeeze herself into a size 10 little number!!

Eventually we nestled in between the big boys on the motor boat pontoon and checked in. The Marina only opened last year andv the office buildings opened in May. Everything is sparklingly new and they are trying to seduce us with a welcoming gift of a tin of spiced mackerel fillets and 4 complementary bread rolls landing in the cockpit every morning! All very nice, but the charges are too much for the location which is about 3 miles from Porto, with a bus service that takes 40 mins to get there and the last bus is at 2000hrs. Still it was good to arrive and with an agreed 20% discount things aren’t so bad. We put the bikes together and cycled along the river to take a look at the port houses ready for a visit on Monday and then back to the boat for a nightcap.

Romantic night from the back of the boat

Romantic night from the back of the boat

On Monday morning we decided it was time to tighten the fan belts, as they seemed to be a little slack. Whilst down in the depths, Marcus realised that the bilge was rather full! On closer inspection, it’s clear that the electric bilge pump is not working……enough for one day.

With fan belts tightened , we set off into Porto to sample some Port.
We took the advice of the lady in the marina office and visited the oldest establishment, Ferriera’s. The oldest port they had was from 1883 and cost €1,600! Needless to say we didn’t taste or buy that one. The cellar looks very unprepossessing from the street, but once inside the different store rooms take over about four streets that go back and up the hill behind the frontage. Everything has been absorbed into the structure of the storerooms and what used to be streets are now corridors.

Ferriera's wine cellar

Ferriera Port wine cellar

Interestingly, the floors are wood block Eucalyptus. This allows them to be soaked in warm weather to regulate the temperature and meant the casks were less likely to split if dropped on wood rather than stone. We had an interesting tour and a more interesting tasting session culminating in us walking away with a young White Port and a Ruby Reserve.

Oporto from the hill that is Farriers port cellar

Oporto from the hill that is Farriers port cellar

We went on towards the town and were sucked into a completely different cellar….very small and modern and a total rip off! They didn’t charge us to go in, but when we got to the end of the very short tour, they sold us an over priced bottle of Port and discounted us just one entry.

Don't go here .... it's a rip off!

Don’t go here …. it’s a rip off!

Back onto our bikes a little more wobbly than we started and off to catch the cable car to the top of the hill.

Cable car up, over the bridge and stroll down.

Cable car up, over the bridge and stroll down.

From the cable car.

From the cable car.

At the top we crossed the bridge which carries some very modern trams into Porto City. The views are spectacular.

Trams ....get a grip Edinburgh!

Trams ….get a grip Edinburgh!

View up river from the bridge.

View up river from the bridge.

Adisused cellar with it's port bottle still standing

A disused cellar with it’s port bottle still standing

From above you can see the extent of the Port store houses that dominate the south bank of the river.

High rise living

High rise living

As with all big cities there is wealth and poverty, but here they are so closely juxtaposed either side of the bridge.

Poverty and wealth side by side

Poverty and wealth side by side

With demand for all the modern infrastructure, the old is literally undermined.

Tunnel bored under buildings......that's the Cathedral above and palm trees!

Tunnel bored under buildings……that’s the Cathedral above and palm trees!

After a full afternoon of sightseeing, carrying our 3 bottles of Port, we were enticed into one of the riverside restaurants. The food was probably the worst we have had!

We ate at the bottom of the hill.....shame we didn't walk further!

We ate at the bottom of the hill…..shame we didn’t walk further!

If only we had walked on a little further! We came across this little place literally perched on a side street.

Where we should have eaten!

Where we should have eaten!

So back to the bikes, which thankfully we’re still where we’d left them chained to a tree, and a 20 minute ride along the river pathway to the marina.

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