Port Wine Tasting and Architecture with Music

Yesterday was all about enjoying Porto from its best sides. We had three main goals for the day, three tourist attractions which we wanted to explore. First and foremost was trying one of Portugal's most internationally famous products, the port wine, by visiting the wine producers situated along the river Douro in an area called Vila Nova de Gaia. Furthermore, we wanted to visit Solar Vinho do Porto, an 18th-century villa considered one of the finest locations for sampling ports. Last but not least we were told that Casa da Musica, a modern concert hall with fantastic modern architecture was a must-see in Porto so we put it on our list of what to do in Porto.

We started our sightseeing trip at Casa da Musica, a major concert hall in Porto. I was little doubtful whether Casa da Musica would be worth a guided tour, but I agreed on accompany Maria, and I am glad I did, I can really recommend a closer look at the fantastic architecture. Casa da Musica is not only an architectural phenomenon created by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it is also a building entirely dedicated to music. In Casa da Musica all types of music are mixed together creating a music meeting point.

Our day continued with a visit in Vila Nova de Gaia where all the famous port wine producers have situated their “lodges” or “caves” as they call them here in Porto. The world famous port wine is stored and aged in the lodges and they are also opened for visitors making them a major tourist attraction. Of course we also wanted to get a little taste of the port wine so we started at the oldest port lodge, Kopke. Maria tried a sweet white port wine and I had a dry white port wine. It was served with chocolate, and we had a wonderful sophisticated time sitting sipping our port wines in beautiful chairs on the top floor overlooking the river Douro. In the district later on we bumped into our dear friends Tom and Susanne from Escape and decided to join them on a wine tasting at another port lodge, Calem, a large producer of port wine. We got a guiding tour among the huge oak barrels filled with port wine stored for ages and afterwards, of course, we had the pleasure of enjoying a taste of both a white Calem port wine and a red Calem port wine. By this point we all needed some food, the port wine was beginning to tell and I can remind you all that port wine has an alcohol level of around 20%. We had a nice dinner together at a local restaurant in the area and then we decided to make a glamorous ending of the evening by visiting Solar Vinho do Porto. The 18th-century villa was little hard to find, even the taxi driver did not seem to know where it was at first, little strange since it is suppose to be one of the major sights in Porto. However, at last we arrived there and it was almost like entering a fancy living room and even though it was a Friday night there was plenty of room for us. We had a seat on a comfy sofa and tried a white sweet port wine from Sandeman's and a red Dalva port wine. The evening was perfect!

Now we are in the marina waiting for the high water to come so the water level will rise and be high enough for Cantare to reach up to the fuel pontoon. Tides are fascinating! After we have filled the tanks with fuel we are off towards Lisbon, a journey of around 180 Miles. Before starting making myself and Cantare ready for sailing again I will give those of you wish to fill up your blue empty camping gaz bottles a hot tip; exchange your bottle here in Leixoes. We have just done it with our old 3kg bottle and was very pleased with the price, 10,75€, goes perfect with our tight sailor’s budget! Have a nice weekend and see you in Lisbon! /First Mate

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