I really wanted to linger a while in Peso da Regua, spellbound by the scale of the river and the boats, but it was hot and much busier than we remembered. After serene Casa de Mateus, it was a shock to the system. So, after a quick bite to eat and a longing look at the sparkling Douro, we trundled south across the bridge, heading for our next destination, high in the Beira Alta.
The Douro region is all about the grape and vineyards, but we were on a mission of a different kind. I had read of the Sanctuary at Lamego, and was curious to see and compare it with Bom Jesus do Monte.
But first we needed to find our accommodation. You would think that with today’s technology that would be a simple matter. Not so! We parked quite close to where it was indicated on the map, and then succeeded in going round and round in circles, trundling our suitcases over the cobbles. The area was a mix of delightfully archaic and modernised, and we could not at all fathom where Rua da Seara had hidden our apartment. Finally we were approached by an elderly lady, who had watched our progress with amusement. And here we come to the kindness of strangers. Without making us feel like village idiots, she patiently led us in the correct direction. Five minutes later we were delivered into the hands of our host. And how we stared when we stepped through the heavy metal door. It hid a wonderful stone stairway and a beautiful conversion job. Even better, a little treat had been laid out for each of us.
You can imagine, we were impressed. Now, should we defer gratification till we’d been for a stroll around? No, don’t be silly- of course we didn’t! A little fortification never hurts before you go exploring.
We had noticed a tiny chapel at the end of our street and made a note to look inside, but by the time we had put the kettle on and eaten our cakes it was closed. As we peered through the railings a young woman in a car pulled up, and called out to the senhora. ‘You won’t regret it- it’s beautiful’, she cried to us. With a rattle of keys the caretaker pulled back the door. And, though dimly lit, it was!
There wasn’t any doubt but that this was a religious place. The shop windows displayed madonnas and religious texts and I lost count of the number of churches. We smiled at the mannequins and the price tags on some of the ‘fashion’ items from another era. No amount of ‘sales’ were going to clear this stock.
But there was an old world charm to the place, and we liked it a lot. Steeply downhill on Rua Olaria (Pottery Street), we smiled at the cat playing with the ball of wool, and strolled a little beneath the chestnut trees leading to Cathedral Square.
Almost enough excitement for one day, a circuit of the block and the extraordinary range of architecture brought us back to our apartment. Much easier to find second time around.
As dusk descended, we lounged a while before sallying forth for supper. It had been a satisfying day.
And still we had castle, cathedral and Sanctuary to look forward to.
It wouldn’t be Monday without a few walks to share. What an emotional Jubilee weekend it was!
A walk for all you garden lovers – thanks so much, Susan!
A gentle walk in the woods with Teresa :
A city I know pretty well, and Sarah does it justice :
On the other side of the globe, Mel battles on!
Nautical connections, from Drake :
Jet enjoys nature in the city :
A heatwave in Toronto? Natalie has the answer :
Riding high on a tide of emotion. The Jubilee and Rafa’s amazing success in Paris. I wish you all a great week!