It's mid-July and Lisbon's heat is pretty heavy these days. That's why we decided to do a little road trip to the North and get some fresh air in between the cutting-breath-views of the Douro valley.
We started out road trip just after lunch, so in the afternoon we needed a short break. We chose to stop in Pombal - a relatively small town (around 55 000 people) in Leiria district. It's very well known for its rich cultural life, amateur theatre and the medieval festivities in the last Sunday of July. Unfortunately, we had not enough time to see a lot of what it has to offer, but a short stroll in the city centre felt good to satisfy my curiosity. The main church at Marquês de Pombal square was really beautiful on the inside. Actually what impressed me about it were the exquisitely painted tiles on the walls by the altar.
We finally reached our hotel after sunset, so we really had no idea about the landscape around. We were able to see Douro river from our room and we were kind of apprehensive it was beautiful, but nothing can compare to my excitement to wake up at 6 a.m. to see it at sunrise. I'm definitely not a morning person but it was so worth it! The warm sunlight and morning haze over the river made me wander if I was still dreaming, as I stood at the balcony in my pjs.
Some hours after appreciating the peace of the sunrise, plus a late breakfast and a glass of champagne for good-morning, the best part of the day was about to begin. A long road trip requires proper rest and a pool day was the best remedy in this particular case. And what a pool it was... 😍
Ever since we booked the hotel and saw there was a tennis field, we decided that at least once we'd try to do that outside of our daily routine. I've had tennis lessons two years ago and since I've stopped my racket stood in the closet. My poor, gorgeous Wilson. So there we were, in the middle of a chill-day, playing tennis on the roof-top field, overlooking the valley. Well, may be the verb "playing" sounds too good for what our (specially mine) attempts looked like, but let's not go there 🙈 My struggle at tennis has always been the part where I have to control the ball - both speed and direction. So, it was not surprise that we played until we had lost our balls (literally!), as I sent them all outside the security net and lost them in the surroundings. Hmm, I guess I won, right?
The best part (for me!) was when an old train passed over the aqueduct nearby. It was the perfect excuse to rest for some seconds and observe the yellow train on top of the arcs.
For the next day we've planned more road tripping and wine tasting. Quinta do Vallado was around one hour East from our hotel, but it had been referred to us several times, so decided it's a must when it comes to try not only Port-wine at the Douro valley. It surely didn't disappoint. In addition, our wine tasting group was so cool, we ended up having lunch all together at Peso da Régua afterwards.
Then, we continued at our inicial plan to drive to Pinhão. The National Road N222 between Peso da Régua and Pinhão was voted for being World's Best Road in 2015.
Actually, in my opinion, the views from Pinhão to Poço (at the other side of Douro river) were more beautiful and exciting, as the road goes higher on the hill. I guess the light also helped for that feeling. Definitely, that's the perspective I found really unique and unforgettable.
The entire weekend was marked as #roadtripgoals thanks to these stunning valley views, and will not be easy to beat it.
We totally succeeded at what I've planned for the weekend:
- chilling by a dreamy infinity pool with a gorgeous view over the valley
- experiencing some local wines
- road tripping in the heart of the valley's terrace-wineyards
It was time to go back home (which is always a bitter-sweet), but we had one last stop planned before going back to the day-to-day reality.
Ever since I saw an image of the colourful umbrellas in Águeda a few years ago, I really wanted to go and check this playful scenery in the middle of the city. And as my first attempt was not successful (in February), this time AgitÁgueda Art (since 2006) festival was going strong. More than 5000 umbrellas can be seen around town. #anotherdreamcametrue
Seriously, I could not be happier with this little, but dreamy road trip of ours ❤️