Remember Mateus Rose?
A choice of excursions this morning. Many guests are heading for Mateus Palace. It was built in the 19th century for the Count of Vila Real. The palace was designed by Nicolau Nasoni and is regarded as one of the finest private houses of Europe. In 1971 the palace became a private foundation and is now home to various music concerts, art exhibitions and the King Dinis literary prize. Fans of the rosé-coloured Mateus wine will recognise this palace as the image that appears on the labels of the famous wine. The elaborate gardens contain a fabulous Cedar tunnel, made of cedars grown to form a walk-through tunnel of 35m / 100ft in length. Inside the property beautiful 16th, 17th & 18th century Portuguese, French and British furniture decorate the palace. We enjoy a guided tour inside the palace and some free time in the beautiful gardens. Dawn and Natalie sneak off and buy some tasty cherries for everyone.
The alternative excursion is to the Quinta da Pacheca, a well-known vineyard and now a boutique hotel devoted to gastronomy and wine tourism. We are greeted by a local guide called Ricardo and we enjoy an excellent tour. A wonderful picnic in the garden follows, complete with local foods and, of course, the wines and port of the house. These turn out to be so nice that guests are tempted to purchase some. If you buy a few bottles, the Quinta will ship them home to the UK for free! Naturally, Richard feels obliged to agree with guest and order some for Dawn!
This afternoon AMAVIDA sails from Regua to Bitetos, passing the Carrapatelo Lock on route. Down 35 metres / 115 feet in one move! Bitetos is a popular riverside location and being Sunday with lovely sunny weather, the quayside is packed with local visitors. Some of whom are jumping off the quayside into the river! Some are in kayaks. Some on jet skis. Some swimming. Our Captain has a job clearing the way to the quay but thankfully everyone realises that AMAVIDA is quite a big ship!
This evening we drive to the Monastery of Alpendurada for dinner. Once home to Benedictine monks, Alpendurada is now a hotel with some rather fancy dining rooms. We decide to occupy the cloisters. Good fayre and copious amounts of wine are served by monks. Well, the waiters and waitresses are dressed as monks but some of them look quite similar to the restaurant staff from on board ship.