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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Cruise and Land Tour in Portugal - July 18th/15....

For breakfast, I had a few mini-pastries, orange juice and coffee.

We left about 9 on a forty minute drive to Castelo Rodrigo.  Interestingly, in the olden days, the castle stood on the route taken by pilgrims traveling to Santiago de Compostela.   Legend has it that none other than St. Francis of Assisi spent the night here on his pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James.  This quiet, quaint town and castle still attract quite a few tourists.

AMA treated us to a tasting or snack -  a small café/shop offered us a choice of wines and liqueurs -  sparkling rose, white, red, and almond and cherry liqueurs.  There was also bread, spicy sliced sausage and cheese.  They also set out plates of almonds fixed in about eight different ways:  spicy, smoked, caramel, sesame, peppered, etc.  They sold packages of almond in their shop.  The tasting was held on a veranda at the back of the café/shop with a nice view of the surrounding area. 

Upon return to the AMAVIDA, we sailed to Pinhao.

For lunch, the soup was cream of vegetable with tomato bits and orzo macaroni.  I had linguini with Bolognese sauce, the dessert was cheesecake with strawberry sauce, and I had a coke.

We went to a winery for a tour and dinner,  Enoteca Quinta da Avessada.  It was about a 30 minute drive along winding roads with more spectacular scenery.  We received a glass of sparkling wine, which we enjoyed in the garden with a nice view of the surrounding area.  There were musicians greeting us when we arrived at the winery, and also during dinner.  The owner, who gave us a short tour, had an entertaining personality like a professional comedian acting out a routine.  We then entered a large room with many tables accommodating eight persons each.

The winery produced an excellent muscatel white wine and that is what I selected.  On the table, they had the usual bread and olives and the appetizers of sliced sausages, meat fritters, pieces of fried cod were passed around on platters.  We had a green salad and vegetable soup.  They placed large plates with baked chicken, veal cakes, roasted potatoes, and sautéed cabbage on the tables; everyone could take as much as they wanted.  There was a dessert bar which offered impressive choices -  pears simmered in red wine for five hours, flans, mousses, chocolate cake.  I had the chocolate cake and the pear simmered in wine, which was excellent.  They also served an after-dinner drink—their own grappa and espresso.   It was a nice meal which everyone seemed to enjoy very much, and the music made it lively.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco   

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