North Portugal Gathering
- Price from:
- 0 EUR /person
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
- 5 days
- Location Start:
- North Portugal
- Location Finish:
- North Portugal
- We Speak:
- Portuguese, English
Last updated: 09/03/2009
Our Mini-Club get-together (convivial/culinary/cultural) took us to Northern Portugal, including Porto and the Douro Region! We discovered it was still one of the most unspoilt places in Europe.
Preparation & Planning:-
I was given the task to organise this years get-together of our Mini-Club.
A small group of Swiss retired airline executives and their wifes, who have spent their working life managing branches of their company all over the globe. They have seen it all, done it and bought the tee-shirt!
The yearly gathering is mainly convivial/culinary/cultural, and the average age of this years 15 participants was over 75.
Living near Lisbon, Portugal, where we had met some years ago, I opted for a visit to the North of Portugal, including Porto and the Douro Region, still one of the most unspoilt places in Europe.
Although I had visited the area many times during my working years, and knew exactly, what I wanted to do, the sheer distance from my home being over 300 km, called for a local fixer.
Soon after e-mailing my programme to a local Tourism consultant, i.e. Accommodation, Wine & Dine, River Cruise, Train, Historical & Cultural tours, they called to get the feel of the prospective client, and found that we had connections through our respective golf societies, and my wife had formerly dealt with him on that level.
They analysed my proposal and suggested some itinerary changes to better accommodate for the Boat, Train and Plane schedules.
Of the 15 participants, 10 arrived by plane from 5 different countries, 4 by car and 1 by motorbike from 3 different cities in 2 different countries. Some continued to travel by rent-a-car, before flying home again.
The consultants took it all onboard and went ahead and smoothing out the details.
About a month before the trip my wife and I did a trial run, when we met them for the first time in person.
We now could appreciate on the spot, how they had the smallest details to perfection, sugesting as much as possible in the rather short time available.Day one started well with a welcome reception at the Hotel Mercure Batalha Porto, offered by the youngest couple on the occasion of their 40st wedding anniversary, followed by dinner at the charming Guarany Cafe.
An early rise saw us on the second day cruising from Porto to Pinhao, where we stayed overnight at the Vintage House Hotel (Relais-Chateaux), a former Solar of the Taylor Port wine family.
Next day we visited Quinta de la Rosa for wine tasting and lunch on their pergola overlooking the river Douro. Returning to Porto in the afternoon was planned by train, but an unforeseen, countrywide railway workers strike might have left us stranded in Pinhao, were it not for the Consultants who managed to get a coach, coming up from Porto, to pick us up. The driver told me he had arrived at noon with a load from Lisbon, when he was told to go and rescue us in Pinhao. We checked in to Pestana Porto Hotel for the next two nights and then went for dinner at the nearby D.Tonho restaurant.
The morning of the fourth day we spent on a guided panoramic city tour and after lunch at Praia da Luz on the Atlantic shores, we were free to do our own exploring. The evening saw us visiting Graham's Port wine cellars including tasting of course. This was followed by an aperative on the terrace overlooking the city of Porto and dinner in the Board Room of Graham's Lodge, when another highlight were two fado singers and two guitar players, which they had specially arranged to come the 100 km from distant Coimbra, to entertain us.
Reading the feedback from my colleagues, it was one of the Outstanding gatherings long to be remembered.
They all enjoyed every bit of it !
Couldn't find what you're looking for? Check out more tours & excursions in Porto
- Walk In Douro - 6 days from 849 EUR
- Deluxe Chauffeur Driven Tour to Porto and Douro wine region... - 5 days from 1675 EUR
- 9 Day Douro River Cruise North Portugal Tour - 9 days from 0 EUR
- Golfing Vacations in the North of Portugal - 9 days from 0 EUR
Email the tour operator - North Portugal Gathering
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