So Mr. A worked his socks off and won us a trip to the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal!
After meeting some of the other winners in Gatwick on the Thursday morning we boarded a plane and arrived at our hotel ‘The Yeatman’ in the late afternoon.
And wow! What a stunning place…
This was the view from our room…And this was the view from our bath!
After welcome drinks on the terrace and a quick freshen up we headed to the lobby to be transported to our venue for evening dinner on the beach – via tuk tuk’s! What a perfect way to get a taste of the city!
And what a perfect way to end our first day, with drinks and dinner at a beachfront restaurant 🙂
It was an early start on Friday as we departed Porto by train to visit the Douro Valley, an area famous for it’s wine and port production. Our destination was the Quinta de Pacheca wine estate where on arrival we were met with a guide who told us all about how the wine was produced and the traditions that are still employed to this day – such as harvesting the grapes by hand and squashing the grapes by foot (which involves a military style march for a couple of hours, followed by ‘freestyle’ squashing – where they get the music on!)
It was then time to visit the cellars and sample some of their fine produce…
And we were even able to make up our own bottle of Port to take home…
….bottled, corked, sealed and labelled, all by my own fair hand 🙂
A sumptuous BBQ style lunch followed in the restaurant overlooking the vineyards…it was such a pretty setting. After lunch we hopped on a boat that took us partway up the Douro river, another chance to take in the spectacular scenery.
On Friday evening we were taken to one of the oldest wine lodges in Porto – Grahams Wine Lodge for a tour and a spot of Port tasting.
We tried (from front to back) a Ruby six grapes reserve, a 30 year old tawny port and a 2000 vintage port. My favourite was the vintage 🙂 And speaking of vintage…
….apparently 1977 was a fine year 😉
Another beautiful dinner followed in the Barrel Room restaurant which overlooked Old Porto. Needless to say we slept well that night!
Saturday was our day of leisure in which to explore Porto. But before we hit the streets we had chosen to do an additional activity in the morning – the Rib Boat Experience…
What started off as an exhilarating ride up the river with a few donuts thrown in then saw us tearing out into open sea bouncing over waves and clinging on for dear life! Talk about blowing the cobwebs away!
Fresh faced and a little wonky legged we then headed into the heart of Porto, taking a cable car up to the top of the Dom Luís bridge to take in the spectacular views.
Whilst Mr. A and the others headed to a cafe on the waterfront, I was keen to seek out a LYS for some souvenir yarn 🙂 So camera in hand and armed with the shop finder on the Ravelry app I went exploring via the backstreets.
As I climbed my way up the city I couldn’t help but stop to take photo’s of the beautiful tiled buildings lining the roads and streets.
Here are some close up’s of the tiles, or ‘Azulejo’s’ that I passed along the way…
Eventually I reached my destination – the Ovelha Negra yarn shop…
Bottom right is the souvenir yarn I purchased…a gorgeous BFL & silk in a soft brown, a merino and cotton blend in the turquoise and 100% Portuguese wool in orange. I was one happy bunny 🙂
We headed back to the hotel late afternoon in order to prepare for the Saturday night celebratory gala dinner -time to dust off the posh frock!
The venue for the gala dinner was the Old Customs House of Porto (now the museum of transport and communications)
It was a short trip to cross the river by boat before we arrived, to be greeted by a lady wearing along fronted dress that ran all the way down the steps.
Apparently this is a Portuguese custom, but I didn’t find out the tradition behind it at the time and I can’t find anything on the internet, so if anyone can shed some light I would be really interested to know what it means?
During the evening each winning dealership was congratulated and presented with a gold lion trophy in an awards ceremony, and what followed was a fantastic night of celebrating with great company, great food, great wine, great music and lots and lots of dancing!
So the head was a little sore on Sunday…but what a brilliant night! We were lucky in that our flight home wasn’t until the late afternoon so we had a bonus day, and the sun was shining!
Keen to make the most of the last few hours I grabbed the camera and headed out again. If you are a returning reader you may recall my obsession with abandoned buildings and boy, Porto had plenty of those to keep me happy! But imagine my delight when wandering the cobbled backstreets around the hotel I came across the Parque da Quinta das Devesas…
The gardens of this abandoned Casa have been turned into flower gardens, unfortunately they weren’t in full bloom yet but I can imagine how beautiful it would be in the height of summer…
It was a truly beautiful and peaceful place and I feel so lucky to have accidentally stumbled across it.
I headed back to the hotel to join the others for lunch and soak up the sun until we had to say our goodbyes…
What a weekend…the organisation and attention to detail that went into pulling this event together was phenomenal. Thank you Peugeot and thank you to my amazing husband for winning such an incredible trip xxx