I returned a few days ago from Porto and the Douro Valley. I was there to visit some of the hotels, restaurants and all the stops we make as we paddle down the great Douro River. This was a very good visit and I finally met Jackie Dias who is the PR person for the Symington Family. Jackie and I have been in email contact for around 4 years and she has been extremely helpful on several occasions. Jackie gave me a tour of Graham’s Lodge in Gaia and again was a great source of information on places to visit. Jackie has been working in the Port business for many years and knows everything and everybody! I mentioned to her that I was looking for more information on the Douro River before the dams were built and especially about the rabelo boats that were used to ship the port wine from the Douro Valley to Gaia. When I returned home I received an email with a scanned copy of the of the very few books written on exactly the subject I was asking about. All the information I will be using as I work on the Douro River kayaking guide I’m writing. My vision is to product a guide that will not only cover important points to be taken into account when kayaking the river but also a bit of the history of the Douro Valley as well as the origin of wine production in the area. Since this Valley was inhabited as far back as 22 thousand BC. I have my work cut out for me. This is a big project and I started gathering information 4 years ago and hope to get down to the writing next winter. Fortunately I really enjoy all this and I’m in no rush to finish.
Well finally next week, after having been away too long, I’m returning to my favorite place, the Douro River in Portugal. This time I won’t paddling my kayak but I will be visiting some of the same places we visit on our Douro Kayaking Expeditions. The reason for my trip is to visit all the B&B’s and hotels and restaurants we will visit on either our 5 night trips or our 9 night trips. All the places where we stay or eat are small family run places and I believe personal contact is much better than simply making reservations by email. If I were running a large organization this personal touch might not be possible but since that’s not the case, I’m on the road again.
I really look forward to seeing old friends and of course in some cases making new friends.
Sometimes I’m surprised but not often as I have become used to strange and erratic behaviour in the political arena. this time I have been very pleasantly surprised. About two weeks ago I published our Douro Kayak dates for 2017 with one 9 night trip in both June and Sept. I sure didn’t expect to get people signing up 15 months in advance. I just wanted to get the word out since many people like to dream and plan ahead. My surprise is that we have already signed up four people for our trip starting in Porto on June 16th. 2017. This is a really special trip because we finish in Porto on St John’s Day and have a front row seat for the rabelo boat regatta which takes place only once a year. Here is a picture of some of the rabelo boats that we can see sailing on June 25.