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Map of Douro - walking in blue, by train in red

We started at Freixo de Espada a Cinta, a pretty town at the edge of the port wine demarcation area in the upper Duoro.  Yet it does not appear in any tourist guide books.  Our hotel was opposite the wine cooperative so naturally we had to have a bottle of the local white - 14.5% alcohol!  Whew.   Many windows and doorways are decorated with Manueline (late Gothic architecture, Portuguese variety) trimmings.

Freixo de Espada a Cinta, Pelourinho

Freixo is proud of its Manueline (late Gothic architecture, Portuguese variety) decorated windows

From Freixo we walked 25 k's to Barca d'Alva across the Duoro River near the Spanish border.  A hot day.  Barca d'Alva is the upper limit of navigable water on the Duoro and a cruise ship was in for the night, and no accommodation in the only place in town.  So by taxi back to Freixo for a night then taxi to Barca d'Alva next morning.

Patch work of greens - olives, almonds and grapes on the upper Douro River between Freixo and Barca de Alva

From Barca d'Alva we completed one of the worlds great train journeys, on foot!  

There is an abandoned rail line that runs 30 kilometres to the current end of the rail line at Pocinho.  The line was opened in 1887 and the last train rain in 1988. Everything is still there, a little overgrown.  There are 5 sturdy iron bridges.  The bridges rest on hollow stone pillars, hollow in case they had to blow the bridges if the Spanish came.  And 2 tunnels.  WOW.  The telegraph line is there and the piles of sleepers, rail lines and bolts ready for maintenance.

The stations look like the station master has gone for siesta and will be back soon.  At Barca da Alva, there is the tank to recharge the steam engine water and the hand operated turntable to turn the engine around to go back.

It was totally fantastic and slightly eerie.

Barca de Alva's abandoned railway station ...

... with its water tank to replenish the steam engines ...

... and the hand operated turntable to turn around the engines in front of the workshop ...

... and the cargo shed

If you are brave enough, continue across the old iron bridge

Don't look down!

The rail line hugs the Douro River

Where's the torch, Pam?

Almendra station looks like the Station Master just left for siesta

Almendra station

Hold on tight


Castelo Melhor station

Toot toot

Coa station has seen better days

This track is fine

End of the line at Pocinho
After the rail walk we caught an actual train, diesel, with aircon by open the window and stick your head out.  Clackety clack down the Douro through the port vine growing area. 

Took the narrow-gauge railway, Linha da Tua, 52 kilometres up the steep sided Tua valley to Mirandela for a night.  Too bad they are using modern green carriages pulled by an electric engine on this line now.

Not running today, sorry

Loved this train so much we got off, walked 25 k's back and did it again - clackety clack

Tua station

Tua is ready for the steam train

Pam waits for the train below the old signal lamp - it will be on time too

Mirandela station

Mirandela's Ponte Romanica Romanesque (15th century) with 20 uneven arches


Back on Duoro next morning we continued on to Peso da Regua by train and then walked to Lamego for a night and bussed back down to Regua.  We tried the Lamego champagne - the French are in no danger.

Liked the Douro so much we  walked 25 k back the next day to Pinhao and caught the train again. 

This was a lovely walk even though on the main road - traffic light and verges to walk on.  The road runs right alongside the Douro with great views of the river with its vine covered hillsides.  We did this 25k's in 5 hours and enjoyed it so much we didn't want to stop.  Consoled ourselves with a local cake and glass of port at  Pinhao before catching the train to Porto.

Upper Douro River - this is port wine grape growing country

Port wine grapes growing on the banks of the Douro

Pinhao station with its azulejos depicting the grape harvest

Details of azulejos at Pinhao station

Pinhao is the centre of the port producing region
The white vats along the riverfront are for fermenting the port

This is how the port wine was transported to Porto in days gone by

This is how it is done today

Village of Sande near Lamego


Lamego's Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios
Much like Braga's Bom Jesus with its ornate staircase

Hand pruning of the vines, Douro

Typical terraces, Douro

And more terraces

The famous Ferreira vineyards
We toured their cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia (across the river from Porto) and walked out with 2 bottles of port

Now completed 650 kilometres walking