The Douro Valley, Portugal. October 2019, (Day 3)

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The rain forecast for today means we have had to change our itinerary. The day started with a visit to Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios built on top of Mount St. Stephen (Monte de Santo Estêvão), between the 18th and 20th centuries. Visited by pilgrims from all over the country, especially on September 8, the day of the Nativity of the Virgin and the high point of the feasts in honour of Our Lady of Remedies, which usually include fireworks, musical shows and various sports and recreational activities. One is rewarded for climbing the Baroque staircase, all 686 steps!, with views over Lamego. The rain started not long after we had climbed up the stairs so it was time to move indoors.

The Casa de Mateus was built in the first half of the 18th century by António José Botelho Mourão, 3rd Morgado de Mateus. It replaced the former family house which had stood on the site since the beginning of the 17th century. In 1910, it was classified as a National Monument. We had a guided tour of the house. The items on permanent display form a unique collection of heritage and artistic value that communicates the history of the Family and the House.

The Casa de Mateus is a living museum which retains the original arrangements and functions of many of its rooms. Wood, chestnut in particular is in abundance, on ceilings, floors, doors and in the library. The parts of the house not available for the tour are still used by the family.

The Winery buildings date from the 16th century, however they don’t produce Mateus Rose wine. The estate licence the image of the house that is used on the Mateus Rose wine bottles.

The Lake was built in the 1950s, and perfectly reflects the Baroque style house, which is surrounded by chestnut and oak trees planted in the 1970s. The sculpture by João Cutileiro, has ‘slept’ in the Lake since 1981.

After our tour we filled this lovely restaurant, where we had a long, leisurely, delicious lunch, sharing conversations, laughter and experiences of the trip. It was a prefect way to end the weekend.

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