Hi Everyone. It's me again. Back from our river cruise in Portugal down the Douro watching vineyards pass by. Once you've seen one, you've seen the lot but the scenery is magnificent. The river has been tamed by several dams and locks as apparently in previous times, it was a very dangerous river but the only way of getting the wine down to Oporto for export etc.
One of the locks was 120 feet deep. Quite awsome as our ship went in and the gates closed behind us. It was like being in a dank, dark cave. Then the water started flooding in and we rose quite fast although it took about 15 minutes to get to the top. Loads of cormorants on the lock wall, never seen so many before, not to mention herons which were all over the place and meant the river was healthy with lots of fish.
Picked up a bug on the plane I think and spent the first two days coughing and then lost my voice. What with that, the wisdom tooth, antibiotics, steroid injections etc etc etc, did not feel 100% all week. We did enjoy the cruise - it was very relaxing but so hot. Food was french cuisine and we had entertainment every evening including a crew night which was one of the funniest turns I have ever seen. Also Fado singing which I love and flamenco dancing. The last night we had a group from a local village who are dedicated to keeping folk traditions alive with singing and dancing. They were very good and we enjoyed it very much.
Our first visit was to Mateus Palace near Vila Real. A beautiful house still lived in by the owners with magnificent gardens. Round every corner was a fountain, flowers, trees, fruit and grape vines. Then onto Salamanca in Spain (just over the border) on a day which hit 36 degrees - it was so hot. But a lovely medieval city with two cathedrals, one romanesque the other baroque, one of the 4 oldest universities in Europe, including Oxford and many English students go there to study. We had coffee in a lovely square surrounded by 18th century buildings and a guided tour by Carmen who was a stunning looking girl who certainly knew her stuff and her English was impeccable. Other visits took us along the Wine Road, then back to Oporto and we spent the morning there before going onto Braga in the afternoon. Very disappointing. It is billed as the Roman City but not a roman ruin anywhere. The Cathedral was gothic with a magnificent organ and the gardens were very pretty and well kept.
Coming home, we turned off the A11 at Newmarket and came across the fens to see Ely Cathedral on its mound. Now that is what I call a cathedral, as is Durham and some others in the UK. Himself also took a wrong turn out of Stansted and we headed off down the M11 towards London before we could turn round again!
Animals very pleased to see us. The Kennels had tried to wear Berry out - no chance - he was full of it. Tilly so pleased she didn't know where to put herself and MinnieCat spent all the journey home telling us what a good time she had had.
Back to reality and work but we went out for lunch yesterday with our close friends which really put a good end to the holiday.
Still got trouble with my wisdom tooth - waiting for the letter from the hospital now. I don't think they will give me any more antibiotics as had two lots so far so popping back the Nurofen to keep the pain at bay and trying to remember to chew on the other side! LavendarLady x