The wines of Porto

Today I am going to tell you a little bit more about the delicious Portuguese wines, also known as ‘Porto’.

The history of Porto’s wines, known as port, could well have started with the arrival of the Romans in these lands, who first introduced grape-growing all over the area.

With time these wines would acquire great prestige, and in the 14th century, they were already exported to countries like England. However, to really speak about the port wines, we must wait until the 17th century, when British merchants discovered, it is thought by chance, the production technique based on interrupting the process of fermentation by adding neutral brandy.

From 1703 and until 1757, the signature of the Treaty of Methuen gave the English the monopoly of practically all the wine trade.  For this reason, it is very frequent to hear that port wines are as much English as they are Portuguese, a theory reinforced when you read words like Vintage, Tawny, Crusted or Ruby on the labels.  Some even say that its taste is more English than Portuguese. 

In spite of this, nobody can question that port wines are a genuine product of Portugal, They are produced in the Regiao Demarcada do Douro, the first designation of origin in wine history, are kept in the wineries of Vila Nova de Gaia – until 1986 the cellars could only be in that locality – and only Porto companies can export them, this being indispensable condition for obtaining of Regiao Demarcada do Douro label.

Port wines may be white or red, aged in barrels or in bottles. The most commonly used grapes are, for red wine, the Portuguese touriga nacional, tinta cão, tinta barroca, tinta rorix and the French touriga francesa, while for the white wines, malvasia fina, codega and malvasia rei predominate.

Brought to the wineries of Vila Nova de Gaia, the wine is put in pipas, large barrels with an average capacity of 550 liters, and brandy is added to fulfill the conditions required by the Instituto de Vinho do Porto (IVP).

Once the aging process is complete, port wine is ready for consumption. 

The most popular are Ruby, a fruit young red with a ruby colour, Tawny, aged a minimum of three year in barrels, LBV (Late Bottled Vintage), with its strong flavour and very dark colour and, particularly, Vintage, wines made from the finest grapes, with a ageing period between ten and fifteen years. 
For many years, port wines were transported from the area of the vineyards to the wineries of Vila Nova in boats called rabelos.  The rabelo is a boat from the Douro with a large oar used as a rudder and two smaller oars on either side.  With time, they became larger in size and a sail was added. With the arrival of trains and lorries, the rabelos lost the privilege of being the only adequate means of transport for the barrels.  The few boats you can see today operate as tourist attractions whilst paying tribute to those earlier times.

And now, which one do you choose? I go for the RUBY!! 🙂

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A world full of Buddhas

Biggest European Oriental Garden

Did you know that the biggest European Oriental Garden is in Portugal?  You can find him at Quinta dos Loridos, Bombarral, at only 20 minutes driving from Vila Oasis Verde. Do you want to know if the Buddha garden in Bombarral is worth a visit? Read on!

History

Most noteworthy, the garden is 35 hectares big. The reason for the garden was the destruction of the 2 big Buddhas of Bayan.  Unfortunately, they were destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban. But, as a consequence, a beautiful garden arose in Portugal.  

You have to see it when you are in Portugal.  It is — monumental— 

Some facts

Therefore, I would like to give you more facts about this awesome garden.  First of all, more than 6000 tons of marble and granite were used to make all these statues. Also, there are about 700 hand-painted blue terractota soldiers in the garden. Third, in the central lake, you can see Koi fish.  And, even more impressive are the dragons coming out of the water.

In the middle of the garden, you can find a central staircase.  Here you can find the biggest lying Buddha. The perfect moment to take a nice picture…

Little train for the tourists

We took a little ride with the touristic train in the garden.  Nice for the kids, but you need to wait a long time, especially because it was high season.  The ride takes about 30 minutes, so you need to wait 30 minutes when you cannot enter the train.  The train brings you to places where you normally wouldn’t come by foot and it has 3 stops, where you can leave and enter the train again.

Wines

To exit the garden, you need to pass through the store. Here you can buy and taste good wines for an affordable price.  You can find here more information about the wines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Buddha garden in Bombarral is a must-see.  Especially when you have half a day available and you don’t really know what to visit, this is the perfect visit.

Read also about the dinosaurs in Lourinha!

YouTube

Watch our ride on the train in the next video. Subscribe to our youtube channel here.

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The beautiful coastline of Peniche

What are we going to do today?  A question that a lot of parents recognize.  Let me think. It’s windy today, so we can’t go to the beach unless you want to be sandblasted.  The sun isn’t shining either. But it’s hot. The perfect moment to discover the small city of Peniche.  And that’s what we are going to do.

The trip starts

After a drive of 10 minutes and some roundabouts further, we arrive in Peniche.  We drive through the center and take than a small street at the right. Immediately, we arrive at a small beach with an unexpected pretty view.  Of course, I take some pictures. We see a lot of cars driving by and are wondering what to see further. We drive also a little bit further and arrive at ‘Papoa’.  Wouldn’t call it a real village, it’s more a cliff. We are going to explore the cliff. And what an amazing walk we make there! Nice view, nice walk, perfect for my kids.  Nice view of the ocean and not too exhausting. I discover here a walk that you may not miss when you are visiting Portugal. Also, my kids are very enthusiast. 

Cabo Carvoeiro

After this, we drive further along the coastline of Peniche.  We don’t drive too fast, so we can enjoy the beautiful views. Don’t worry, everybody is driving slowly, so that’s no problem.  We arrive at ‘Cabo Carvoeiro’, the most Western point of Europe. You have a very nice view here. We can see the Berlengas Islands, fishing boats passing by, but most importantly, the waves of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.  Here you stand still for a moment to think about how beautiful life is.

Fishing Port of Peniche

Then we drive further to the fishing port of Peniche.  The moment we arrive, there are a lot of people. Wondering why.  It seems that we are there exactly at the moment that a lot of boats are departing for the Berlengas Islands.  This explains the crowds. On the pier, you can walk until the end, which seems nice. But we leave this for others because we would like to have an icecream.  We find a nice ‘gelateria’ and enjoy further our day.

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