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A day in Douro

In some funny way, this blog is turning into one which tends to have more travel posts than anything else. Then again, do you blame me? Travel is such an inspirational and mind opening experience!

Those who have been following me on my Instagram (@marielle_quaintrelle in case you don't *wink*) know that I have just recently spent a few days in Porto as part of my summer holiday. I had bought my flight and sorted out my accommodation months in advance. However, as I was totally taken up with the relocation I left the planning of what I would actually do once in Porto only till the last week - and that is so not in my character! I know, I know, some of you may actually recommend just going with the flow, not having any plans etc etc but just the thought of that, honestly, gives me anxiety. Plans bring me calmness and serenity.

Anyhow, as has become a bit of a custom for me whenever I travel, I logged onto my Airbnb account and looked up what experiences I could enjoy while in Porto. One of those I clearly couldn't miss was a day going round the Douro valley with wine, port and olive oil tasting stops along the way.

There were a few Airbnb hosts offering this kind of experience but I chose to go with the one offered by André, Tiago and Márcio which I'll link below. Tiago was the guide on the day and after picking me and the other participant from our respective hotels, he drove us out of Porto into what could only be described as the most breathtaking, enchanting landscape. Our first stop was at the Olive Oil Museum where we savoured some delicacies from the region - hearty moorish bread dipped in the most sumptuous olive oil, freshly picked almonds dipped in honey ... and of course the house's white, rosé and red wine. After taking in the scenery from the family-run museum and winery establishment we headed to the Pinhão station which is embellished with azujelo tiles depicting the region's viticultural heritage.

A boat ride along the river, and then it was time for lunch which we had at Vintage Theory in the village of Sabrosa. Each course was paired with the house's own white, red and port wine - the latter perfectly complementing the tastiest and lightest of cheesecakes. I mean, I could quite happily have just remained there - lunching under an age old walnut tree, overlooking vast expanses of vines, sipping on some of the best vinos I've ever had ... can a girl ask for more? More port tasting ensued (no complaints here! I even found a barrel with my birth year on it but alas didn't get to taste a *ahem* 40 year old port ...) and then off we went to the final stop in Amarante for some red green wine ... yes you read that right. Green wine is a very young wine which has a little effervescence to it - we got to taste the red variety and snack on some bread, sheep and cow cheeses and hams (not for me, of course!). We were of course stuffed by then so we fitted in a little walk around the town before starting on the way back to Porto.

If you've ever been on an Airbnb experiences, one of the evaluation questions at the end asks whether you would have been able to do the experience on your own. Heck, of course I wouldn't have! Not just because I do not drive, but the insight Tiago had, the places he took us to, all family-run but to the highest of standards, could not be matched. If I were to go to Porto again, I would do this tour again in a heartbeat. Until then, just leave me here with the olive oil and port that I bought from there ... until the next blog post!

Airbnb experience: Ultimate Douro Valley Journey

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