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Meanderings of a Working Travel Agent

Did You Wash Your Feet First? And Please Shut Up!

That was the thought that jumped into my mind on my tour of the Douro River.  Our host took us down to the stomping room – where the grapes are crushed by foot.  I was quite surprised – in this day of technology they still do the old fashioned thing.  The room was dark and cool which was a good thing because it was boiling hot outside.  In the centre of the room stood a large granite rectangular box into which the grapes are loaded and then the fun begins.    It is called Grape Cut and for about two hours a row of workers face each other arm in arm to steady themselves and stomp the grapes in accordance with instructions from the leader shouting “One, Two, Left, Right” etc. 

Apparently after a good stomp those participating walk around with pink toenails for quite a while!

After two hours of the Grape Cut it loosens up a bit and they can stomp to their own rhythm.  This is accompanied by music and, of course, wine.

Talking about music – this was the one thing that spoilt my time in Porto.  We had a beautiful hotel with a riverside view and right below our room was the spot where local musicians come to busk.  Now I love to hear good music, and some of these people were really good, but when they bring along amplifiers and their local drummer and play until 2 in the morning – no thank you –  Please shut up and go home.  I did not see amplifiers used in other places on my trip and some cities, like Venice, will ban them (buskers) all together!

Talking about stomping (or crushing) we also got to see where the olives are crushed and processed into olive oil when we visited Gallipoli in Italy.  No human feet needed here – just donkeys – shame poor little things stuck down underground going round and round in circles.

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In the background there you can see the presses where the crushed olives are pressed to extract even more oil.

And at the end of the day the donkeys take their rest in this manger under the ground.

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After a long day of touring the Douro and tasting numerous wines and ports you can imagine that all I wanted to do was to get back to the hotel and have a nap.  Oh no – but those practising for Portugal’s got talent were outside my hotel window!


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The Travel Lady Blog

The Travel Lady

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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