Exploring the Douro May 10, 2023



  • edited May 29

    Day eleven is the last day of the tour. We toured the city, and the Coach Museum, and had our farewell dinner at the Queluz National Palace. We and our traveling companions stayed for an extra day just taking short walks and relaxing. We found a place called The Garage two blocks from the hotel that had quite good food. Our flight out was at 0715 so we had an early night.

  • Sealord,

    if you haven't done it yet ,make sure you see the tapestry depicting the Four Seasons. I think it's on the second floor.

  • edited May 29

    Kathy M - I do not recall any art at the InterContinental, but the adjacent hotel--The Four Seasons Ritz--has an art gallery. Is that what you are referring to?

  • You are correct. We stayed at the Four Seasons Ritz. I knew it had two names and just jumped to Intercontinental. the tapestry is not in an art gallery but rather in a sitting area on the second floor.

  • It's an easy mistake to make since the two hotels are next to each other. The tapestry in your photo was my favorite. The other pieces were interspersed throughout the hotel.

  • Sealord - Your experiences and photos brought back some great memories. Other than Jeremy, who were the other tour directors?

  • edited May 30

    Our TD’s were Susana O. (Yay!), and Emil P. The ‘cruise’ director was Jeremy S. … a man of many outfits. They are pictured below, Jeremy at the bar, and Susana and Emil at the farewell dinner in the palace. They all did a great job. Susana lives near Malaga and has only been with Tauck for a few years. She is probably still aboard as she was doing another trip Eastbound.

  • edited May 30

    Thanks. We had Jeremy but different tour directors.

    Postscript - One more question then I will leave you be. Our captain (Sergio, I believe) had an open door policy at all times except when maneuvering through locks or low bridges. There was no need to sign up for specific dates or times. Knowing you are a frequent ship traveler, did you have an opportunity to visit the wheelhouse?

  • Jeremy was going home after our cruise. I know Susana was staying, but I don’t know about Emil.

  • I have been to the wheelhouse before, but not on this trip. We have dined at the Captain’s table on ships perhaps ten or more times, and one Captain on the Voyager actually invited us to the bridge for a port departure …. that is unusual. I’m sure he knew we would comply with the proper protocols … stand still, observe, and don’t speak. This is not a ‘tour’ experience. Going off topic, but aviators who have been chosen to be Captains of aircraft carriers are assigned first to a deep draft like an oiler to learn how to drive a boat. My first air wing commander was doing that when I arrived on Guam to join a reconnaissance squadron where his oiler was based. We became beer drinking buddies at the Top of the Marianas Officer’s Club. A couple years later I became a very young Officer ibn Charge of an EA-3 detachment on the USS Ranger and he was my Captain. I was immediately the most powerful Lieutenant on the ship. No one deserves to have that much fun with their clothes on.

  • Interesting story. Also off topic, my husband was awarded a medal for successfully landing a Douglas dive bomber on an aircraft carrier when the pilot was shot. My husband was the gunner/photographer (17 at the time). Remarkably, they both survived and kept in touch for many years. And yes, he still travels at 98 although no longer on land tours.

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the Douro.

  • Vivian, that's incredible, esp. after the itinerary issues you had to deal with on Savoring France. Were you able to retrieve any of your belongings? I have heard of people hiding purchases in their suitcases. See Intercontinental thread...you may want to write The Points Guy for his worst hotel list.

  • Sealord I'm doing this river cruise in August sans Lisbin and Madrid as I've been in both more than once. Thank you for all the comments it helped me with the excursion choices

  • Gladys from Orlando. I’m glad the thread provided you some service. We love Madrid and Lisbon and have visited there several times. I tend to revisit places I like. Galapagos three times and Africa four times and we are not done there yet. I spent my youth in Southeast Asia and I worked in India for a year so those are off the list.

  • Sealord, I sent you a DM. Thanks for sharing your trip.

  • i am doing this trip-Lisbon to Madrid-at the end of August. need to pick my excursions. does anyone have any recommendations?

  • Any good shopping on this trip. Going in October

  • edited June 4

    Yes bella, a fair amount. Cork, tile, almonds and sardines in Portugal. One thing we didn't learn until too late is that most of the cork sold isn't Portuguese and isn't as good a quality. The real stuff is much nicer and more expensive. The ships boutique sells some , we had a woman come aboard who gave us a lecture on it and had lovely stuff to sell. Also the town where you visit the castle had a store that sold nice stuff.

    Edit: I forgot to list port wine. If you find something you like - especially a white or rose port - try to bring some home. I've had no luck finding any of those I sampled available in the U.S..

  • edited June 4

    As the leading producer of cork in the world, one can find an array of exceptional cork products in Portugal. My favorite shop, Cultura Portuguesa, is in Porto and is known throughout the Iberian Peninsula for its quality products. I have also been to The Cork Store in Lisbon by the river but much prefer the shop in Porto. Stay clear of pop-up street vendors. Remember the old adage..."you get what you pay for."

    The history of Portuguese cork is fascinating. It takes over twenty (20) years for a tree to produce cork and the cork is only harvested once every ten (10) years.

    bella c - Neither of these shops are part of the tour. You will, however, be given free time for lunch in Coimbra where virtually every store sells cork products. I cannot vouch for the quality. If you just want a souvenir, you could buy something there.

    The fall is the best time for this trip since the vineyards along the Douro will be ablaze with magnificent colors, climate permitting.

  • Just an off topic ‘by the way’, I was going to post something on the thread that I questioned for ‘accuracy’, and that thread has apparently been removed.

  • Thanks for your review Sealord. My husband and I, with another couple, will be taking this tour in July. Looks like we will have a great time.

  • When in July?

  • July 19 start of tour. We will be arriving Lisbon on July 16th

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