Days 1 & 2 - Traveling to Bordeaux
Day 3 - St. Emilion
Day 4 - Rioja
Days 5 & 6 - Western Spain and Portugal
Day 6 - Porto
Day 7 was our 4 year anniversary! I had told the B&B owner that this was our anniversary, so she really took care of us - for breakfast we had homemade cressants (which were delicious), homemade tomato jam (which I had never had before, but it was so good), and eggs.
We had noticed the day before that our motorcycle headlight had burnt out, and we figured that a big city like Porto would be the perfect place to buy a new one. I casually mentioned to our hostess that we needed a new headlight, and she gave us perfect directions to a BMW motorcycle dealer! She really was the best - I hope we go back to Porto sometime to stay there again.
The headlight seemed like it would be an easy fix, but it kind of turned into an ordeal. Let's just say - thank goodness Brian knows his motorcycle. We tried to just buy the light so that B could install it. The mechanic insisted on installing it himself. Brian watched him and noticed he broke the fixture. The mechanic tried to tell us it was fixed, but Brian knew better (love my man). Bri was obviously unhappy, so the owner of the shop came out. After a lot of talking and some frustration, the mechanic ended up fixing the fixture and installing a component that will keep it from breaking in the future, which is a good thing. All for the cost of the light bulb, which was only like, 20 bucks. So it turned out great, but it took some effort to get there!
So then we were on the road! And oh, what a GORGEOUS ride we had planned for that day. It was Douro River valley day, which is a famous for its beauty and Port production.
First of all, the weather had really warmed up, which was so nice. B and I wore t-shirts and shorts under our motorcycle gear, which was a fun change from needing to layer up a bit more. And from the beginning of the day through the end, we were constantly in awe of our surroundings.
The plant-life started out very jungle-y in the morning. It was so green and lush and everything smelled so fresh! The road was awesome - just a two-lane road, winding along the river.
Welcome to the jungle!
Then the roads started to climb - when I thought we couldn't go any higher, the road just kept on going! When I looked out over the valley, I felt like I was looking out the window of an airplane! Then the road ran along the ridge of the hills - back and forth, twisting and turning, taking us through the cutest tiny towns, and giving us views that kept taking our breath away.
There were SO many farms in this valley. A lot of them were growing trees that looked like this one - all in full bloom!
Side note: I am terrible at timing pictures while we're driving. I'll think, "Oh, good view!" and I'll go to take a picture, and I'll capture the tree or sign or wall just after the view that completely blocks the view. More than likely, the picture above was one of those pictures, but it does show the type of tree we saw a lot of!
Anyway, so we just kept following the river all afternoon! It definitely became more arid as we continued inland from Porto. For lunch, we stopped in this small town on the river that had this view.
We ate at this little restaurant.
And we had fresh cod with veggies and an ice cream bar for dessert. The cod was really tasty - much more than it looked!
Excited about our chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich
The bridge we took into town
And the drive continued to entertain us with views like these:
HOT PINK HOUSE :)
At one point, I'm pretty sure we were driving on a trail only meant for tractors, but it was SO awesome and peaceful. It felt like we were a part of the little farming community.
These cliffs were so cool - the shadows on the rocks were really dramatic, and the colors on the rock walls were really interesting!
This day of driving turned out to be a really long one, but it was so worth it! We were definitely happy to arrive at our B&B for the evening. This one was really different - it was in this town that was really really old - I mean, they had ancient Roman ruins. We loved how our schedule had us in different surroundings each night. One night, in Porto, the next night, in the Spanish hill country.
We were the only guests staying at the B&B that night, so we really got the special treatment! The couple who hosted us didn't speak much English, though, so that made it interesting! They kept saying something about a "friend" and "later" and "English" s0 we concluded that one of their friends spoke English and would come over later.
In the meantime, we had our welcome beers by the fire, cleaned up for dinner, and then they served us a great meal. The guy called the picture below our "bambino" picture because of the highchair that's next to me. We had a good laugh about that.
So after dinner, we moved back to the living room and met their friend, Marius. And he was a HOOT! First of all, he looked like and laughed like a Spanish version of Dustin Hoffman. His English definitely wasn't the best, but we had a great time figuring out what each other was trying to say. At one point, he was telling us about his new donkey, and he was trying to tell us the name. To help us figure out the English word, he started to hum/mumble, "These ___ were made for walkin..." and we were like "BOOTS!" He said, "YES! My donkey's name is Boots!" We laughed so hard we were crying as he kept singing the song and laughing.
Our discussions varied from his new donkey to politics to funny sayings. At one point we mentioned that it was our anniversary, which made them very happy to celebrate with us. Marius insisted we take a kissing picture:
And then we insisted on taking a picture of him with our host:
The guy on the left is Marius - such a ham and he looks like Spanish Dustin Hoffman, right?? Maybe it's hard to tell in the picture :)
Anyway, we had a great time chatting and ended up staying up till 1:30 in the morning! It was definitely a memorable anniversary!