Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Douro Valley: Chanceleiros

From Pinhão the road winds giddily up the hillside for five km, eventually reaching the hamlet of Chanceleiros. There - upon Paul Hall's kind recommendation - we had booked in to stay the night, at the Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros. Definitely, our best billet!

We were the only guests, but nothing was too much trouble for the redoubtable Adelaide Lopes and her colleague. Before dinner, Ursula Böcking, the Casa's saviour a decade or more ago, came to chat. We sipped white port with her in the drawing-room after a peaceful walk round the village: lost, we were guided gracefully back onto the road by the couple into whose garden we had strayed.

In the morning after a delicious breakfast, we walked further afield. Mist lay below us; we could hear those working to prune the vines across the valley, smoke curling up from bonfires of the clippings. A fabulous place.

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