June 6, 2022 Penafiel SP

We woke up to Dutch being spoken all around us. The campground here is a mini-Netherlands village. It is a relatively small campground with about 30 spots and 23 of them are occupied by folks from the Netherlands. Apparently it has been written up in a popular camping guide there and is now a must stop place in Spain for the Dutch. Penafiel is part of a wine region called the Riberate and is in the early stages of developing vinotourism. It is a series of small towns along the Duoro River in a lovely river valley.

The castle above Pinafiel in the center of the Riberate wine region. The Duoro River runs at the base of the hill the castle is sited on.

Our plan today was to walk into the town and explore so we stopped in the campground office and asked for some advice on a place to learn about the wines of the region. We were told to go to a wine store in town, they would allow us to taste some local wines and share some ideas. After poking around town and doing the obligatory visit to the church and the medieval tower we headed over to the wine store. When we walked in there were two charming ladies working there and they made us feel welcome. The challenge was that one spoke a spattering of English, and the other none at all. My Spanish can also be categorized as a spattering, and Ton doesn’t speak any so communication was going to be a challenge. It turned into one of the most memorable wine tastings we have been on. Between their minimal English, my minimal Spanish and Google translate we were able to get a feel for the wines and the region. Their passion was clear and in the end we walked out with two good bottles of wine and a wonderful memory.

Our wine tasting at Anagora Vinos. A fun place to practice Spanish.

This area is also known for a lamb dish called lechazo. We received a recommendation from the wine ladies on a good restaurant. The lamb is barbecued and we really enjoyed it. Our lamb for two could feed four, and Ton asked for a doggy bag as she wasn’t going to leave any behind.

Our lamb dish for two.

There were two other interesting sites in town that we enjoyed. The bull ring in town dates back to medieval times and is nothing more than an enclosed square in town with a ring in the middle. The mult-story homes surrounding the square are privately owned but the town has the right since the middle ages to sell the views from the windows in the homes when there is a bull fight.

Since the middle ages the city of Pinafiel owns the rights to sell the views from the windows in the private homes surrounding the bull ring in town.

There is a large castle overlooking the city, and the hill leading up to the castle are covered in what looks like giant barbecue pits. They are chimneys to let air into a large network of caves that run under the hill. Apparently the caves are really extensive. Today most of them are owned by the largest producer in town and are used as wine cellars.

One of the chimneys allowing air into the caves under the hill to the castle. Today they are used for wine storage.

We headed back to the campground thinking we had a pretty quiet day, but when I looked at the Fitbit we had covered over 9 miles wandering around Pinafiel and the vineyards outside of town. So when we got back I took a little nap.

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