Over the weekend we celebrated another one of those silly holidays, World Photography Day, but this is one I can get behind. It had me thinking of all the creative and pretty things I’ve shot since my high school days when I first picked up a film camera, to all the amazing travels I’ve taken and all the beautiful things I’ve seen. Naturally it was the perfect time to finally share the last part of my Douro trip last year. The Douro region was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been, and yet it’s also one of those places where a photograph simply can’t do its natural beauty justice. No matter in which direction you turn, you’ll find yourself mesmerized my the rolling hills of lush green trees and endless rows of grape vines, far beyond the eye can see.
Naturally as Portugal’s famed wine region, these views are just one of the things Douro is known for, the other….its majestic and scenic river that runs from the vibrant city of Porto and well into Spain! Now prepare to go on a mini getaway to Portugal’s wine country, even if it’s just for a few minutes because I know the summer wanderlust is real right now…
Since 2001,Douro’s breathtaking wilderness and one of the world’s oldest demarcated wine regions in the world, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site, yet this stunning location remains a surprisingly serene and silent place, apart from the short bustling weeks of harvest each autumn. Natives know very well of Douro’s famed river cruises, and still so many never actually embark on this experience. In my opinion, the most appealing way to travel Douro is along its serene river on one of the region’s traditional Rabelo boats.
A bit of history for you..for centuries Port Wine shippers would send their famous fortified aged wines in oak barrels down the river, where they would be collected in Vila Nova de Gaia to be bottled and distributed. These days traditional Rabelo boats float alongside the city post of Porto and Gaia offering tours and then transformed with streamers and twinkling lights for the city’s São João festivities in June.
When I think back to Douro, there is always one word, one feeling I associate with it, and that’s….Serenity!