The monks lived well!

Trip Start Jun 06, 2014
Trip End Jun 21, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Northern Portugal,
Monday, June 16, 2014

A leisurely morning again. This has been a nice feature of this trip. We often got to sleep in as we traveled by ship during the morning with tours scheduled in the afternoon. Today we continued downstream as we worked our way back to Porto. We again passed through the deepest lock in Europe-115 foot water level change. There were also two more locks that were transversed during the day.

We were treated to a cooking demonstration on board by the pastry chef who showed us how to make the "Pastel de Belem", that wonderful custard dessert.  It looks fairly simple and she gave us the recipe to try at home.  There were ample samples to pass around after the demonstration.
The afternoon tour was to a former Benedictine monastery, built in the early 12th century, that later served as a convent and now is a hotel.  It is quite a facility with a drop dead location, overlooking the Douro River. We got a quick tour including the 12th century kitchen with a stone oven that is still used. We asked to see what a typical room looked like. Needless to say it has been upgraded now that it is a hotel. We got to try yet another popular Portuguese wine called "vino verde",  green wine.  It is made with young grapes and is a light wine with a slight carbonation.  It is easy to drink- maybe too easy!

Lunch was Portuguese focused. A nice green salad followed by roasted pork loin with oven baked potatoes. The potatoes are cooked with the pork so they acquire a wonderful taste because of the drippings from the meat. It reminded me a lot of a dish my grandmother and mother often made which is interesting in that we are not Portuguese. It must be a fairly universal European dish. I cleaned my plate!  Dessert was their version of creme brle- less firm than American versions. 

By the end of the day we were back at the dock in Porto, where we will be until we leave. We spend two more nights on the ship, then transfer to a local hotel for two additional nights. 
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Annette Landvatter on

We will have to try making the custard when I come in September. What beautiful scenery and of course the elegant dining. Can't wait to see you.

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