On this day we went out in the morning with Pato, Marcelo and Sue to visit the Graham Winery. The winery is located high up on the hill overlooking the River Douro on the Gaia side of the river. The Graham brothers founded their firm in Porto trading textiles in 1820 and planted their first vineyards in the Douro Valley in 1890.
We were unable to get a tour of the local facilities because they were fully booked for the day but we were able to see the small museum, gift shop, wine sales shop and to taste a few of their port wines in the beautiful tasting room.
Our next stop was at Churchill’s Winery where we were able to take a tour of the storage facilities for the port wines and to have a tasting with our guide Pedro (we have met many “Pedros.” We tried five of their port wines from a three-year-old white port to a twenty-year-old Ruby Port. After the winery tours we stopped for a pork sandwich and potato chips at the Mercado which was very good.
After lunch Kent and I headed out by taxi to the Crystal Palace gardens located in the city center. The Crystal Palace inspired by London’s Crystal Palace was built to host the International Exhibition of Porto with over 4,300 exhibitors from 25 countries opened in 1865. The exhibit was intended to attract the finest European minds to Porto but that never came true. In 1952 the palace was destroyed to build a site for a World Hockey Championship. Today the site contains an extensive city park terracing down the hillside with many fountains, ponds, children’s play areas and many peacocks. The park was busy with local school kids playing, locals having picnicks, bicyclists and walkers. There is a very large green dome structure that once housed a convention hall but is currently under renovation.
We had dinner with Pato and Marcelo at a local restaurant café on the waterfront. They have been such great assistants to Kent and Christine and we have enjoyed getting to know them. They are from Mendosa, Argentina, but now live in Barcelona.