The Douro is a river that winds through the heart of Portugal’s northern wine country making its way to Porto, the city for which Port wine is named. I’ve been to Portugal countless times, but had never been on one of the river cruises which have become quite popular in the region. It was at the top of my trip list when hubby and I visited last month.
Cruises depart from Porto as well as from points further inland. We opted to go inland after reading that those cruises are shorter but offer truly breathtaking views of the Douro’s terraced hillside vineyards deeper in the river valley. Weeks ahead of our trip I booked a night at the Vintage House Hotel on the one night they had vacancies during our trip. It’s a beautiful hotel, right on the river, and I hoped for the best in terms of weather.
The weather forecast looked fine as the date approached. However, much to my dismay, a storm system formed to threaten our blissful anticipation of a lovely cruise. Driving toward the little town of Pinhao, where we were to stay overnight and go out on the river the next day, the weather was dismal. The winding mountain road offered glimpses of the steep terraced hills, obscured by mist and drizzle. Oh what a shame! I worried for the next day’s weather and for the cruise I’d so been looking forward to. We were only staying this one night and if the weather didn’t cooperate, the hours-long drive and hotel stay would be pointless.
I can say that at least I was grateful for the hotel being all I’d hoped for. The rooms all have river-facing balconies and the public areas are gorgeous. We were welcomed with lovely complimentary Ports upon checking in. The wet weather abated long enough for us to walk around town a bit and get a bite to eat before retiring for the night. We went to bed with our balcony door ajar and listened to the rain moving in again.
The weather forecast called for periods of rain to continue the next day. I didn’t sleep very well. I just kept hearing the rain, heavy at times, and thinking that the next day would most likely be damp and foggy if not outright stormy. The much sought-after views of the grapevines on the hills would be shrouded.
Then I had the thought to just let it go into God’s hands, the one who controls the weather. I did ask Him to please keep driving down the rain during the night so that the sky would rain itself out and be clear the next day, but that I trusted in Him and whatever He decided.
Oh what wonder to awaken to a new day that looked to be clear-skyed! Truly my heart was ever so grateful to a gracious God that heard my prayer for a little favor. We had a spectacular day on the Douro. Not a bit of mist or drop of rain. The views were magnificent and I felt so blessed.