Kayaking 18 km 4 hours 45 minutes to Vila Nova da Coa
Staying at Quinta Chao d’Ordem
September 5, 2017
(Addendum: I am not back in Portugal, but I am creating a photobook and just noticed that this day never made it to the internet- slow connection)
Just visited the Coa Rock Art Museum. Tremendous history dating back 30 000 years to rock carvings. The concrete building as viewed from the river looked like an ugly rectangular box, but up close it is pretty interesting beginning with the crevice like entrance and large mirrored interior walls built at odd angles. In 1994 the Coa dam project was stopped when archaeologists saw all the rock art that was to be flooded.
From the terrace of the museum we are looking way down to the river we paddled today. A cruise ship is now passing. It looks pretty slow from this height but the wake is visible from here and definitely felt when we were in our kayaks. Only three cruise ships passed us, one going up river and two going down. No one capsized at their passing but we did move closer to shore and it was useful to face the waves to cross them.
Everyone was very happy to arrive at our pull out close to 2 PM. We were more than ready for our picnic lunch which Rui, Carlos and Daniel had prepared for us. We had stretched our legs on one of the few sandy beaches at the seven kilometre mark. It was not my arms but my legs that were begging for the pullout. A watermelon was chilling in the river while we dined on chick peas and cod, white beans and cod, tomato salad and hard boiled eggs. Our guides were surprised that nearly all the women as well as the men wanted cold beer rather than red wine.
Our first full day on the river was a joy. Even though it was very hot, there was usually a breeze. We hugged the shore for shade in places, also to pick blackberries and apples. The grapes were too far up the hillsides to have any of them. The hills look very dry. There has not been much rain here all summer.
What a fabulous lodging we have this evening. Last night’s was very basic. Tonight we have the ritz: a vineyard with a gorgeous house with beautiful rooms all with en suites. Ours has a semicircular tub which I must use before bed. I already had a swim in the outdoor pool. One of the living areas has an olive press in it. The house is furnished with antiques and has great views of the vineyards.
Note to Margaret: remember the wonderful converted mill we stayed at in Spain after our 33 kilometre day? This place reminds me of there but it is bigger and fancier. You would love it!
Brian stayed here while I went to the museum with the six geologists of our group. Rain had to nurse his hip by drinking beer by the pool and taking a nap.
We just had the best meal. Each night outdoes the last! After tiny cherry tomatoes, cheese, salami, and tuna cream spread with fresh baguette, we had a mixed salad followed by a whole grilled dorado each (divine!), potatoes and carrots. Some opted for steak. Since there was so much steak left over, we had some too. The ice cream looked like mille feuille and was accompanied by almond brittle: delicious. To top all that off we had half a melon filled with port. Brian still had room for expresso. We went outside to admire the full moon over the vineyard.
Tub time then sweet dreams!