Yesterday I took a full day boat ride down the Douro River. Rather than trying to put into words how breathtaking it was, I am posting the pictures. I'm fairly certain even they won't do the view any justice.
Since it was a weekday, the group on the boat was small which was great. The morning was spent floating through the vineyards, then we had an incredible lunch followed by gorgeous countryside all afternoon.
Side note: One of the really neat things (geek alert) was getting to see how they move ships through the dam when the river is at two different levels. They put us in a "hold" of sorts, drained the water, let the boat drop to the lower level, and opened the opposite gate. Sounds really basic, but it was really cool to see, and they had to drop the boat really far. The pictures are in the album.
The scenery was (of course) beautiful, and every once in a while amid the lush green there would be a single tree with bright purple flowers. There was a really nice family from France that I ended up spending most of the afternoon with, and the kids were entertaining themselves by trying to be the first to spot a purple tree. During that time, Marie (the mom) and I chatted in somewhat broken English about my trip, her family, life in general. As we got off the boat she told me how much she enjoyed our afternoon, kissed me goodbye and said - "You are a purple tree".
Awww. What do you say to that?