30 June 15
Posted at 1:45
Just spent a long weekend in the Douro in a small village called Provesende. If you don't have a ticket for Glastonbury it is a great idea to leave the country for a few days whilst it is on.
So we stayed at Morgadio Da Calcada situtaed on a vineyard in Provesende above the Douro valley. The area is famous for Port wine produced from grapes grown on mountain vineyards in the paradise that is the Douro.
Douro Valley Pinhao
Our host, Manuel Villas-Boas, (yes AVB is his cousin) made our stay infinitely more interesting than it may have been. Manuel seems to know everyone in the whole Douro and beyond and is proud that mention of his name or a flash of his card will open doors or at least secure a good deal. Manuel took us for a surprise before a late breakfast on our first morning.
The Bakery Provesende
The surprise was a visit to the village bakery to collect the morning's bread straight from the oven. There was something of a wait as the baker had overslept due to a heavy night with family visitors. It appeared to phase nobody, just meant breakfast was later than planned. The baker collects wood foor the fire each day, bakes around 200 identical loaves most days and extra for festivals and weekends. The bakery is really basic, the bread is gorgeous. Can't believe EU regulations (or our interpretation of them) would allow a bakery like this to fucntion in the UK. Shame.
The following day the baker overslept again much to his wife's amusement.
Between Vila Real and Provesende is Mateus. There is a palace at Mateus and the more observant will recognise the palace being the very same as in on the label of the iconic Mateus Rose wine. The surprising thing is that Mateus Rose is produced in Porto not Mateus, it has no connection with Mateus or the family who own the palace, the image of the palace is just licensed for use on the bottles.
I was fortunate enough to witness the 'jack the lad' dog of Provesende, Lost, getting his come uppance when he came across a feral cat that happened to be caring for a couple of kittens. The cat initially chased Lost away, the dog soon realising he had something of a size advantage snapped back grow;ling and advancing towards the cat. The cat then did somethjing I've only ever seen in Tom and Jerry cartoons, it bristled its fur from tail to neck and then stood rooted to the spot staring agressively at Lost. After what seemed like an age the stand off ended with Lost turning and whimpering away. Amazing!