I first heard of the word penultimate when our bridge director used it to announce the next to last round of the day. It came in handy when one of our trivia questions was to name the penultimate port on our world cruise.Porto, Portugal is located at the mouth of the Douro River. This river is home to the grapes which can be legally used in wine called port. There are about 70 producers of port wine in the area. But even though all port wine comes from Portugal, the origin of port wine is really more about the British who originally got their wines from France. However, because of wars with France in the 17th and 18th centuries, Britain boycotted French wines; so they turned to Portugal to satisfy their wine cravings. These wines often didn’t survive the longer shipping time by sea from Portugal. The solution was to add some brandy to the wine which increased the alcohol content which in turn stopped the fermentation process leaving more sugar in the wine. The result was port wine which is sweeter than normal wines and has a higher alcohol content of about 20%. We had a port wine tasting with friends Graham and Sue on the left and Bonnie, Dick, Susan, Donna and Dave (hidden by Donna) on the right.This bridge spanning the Douro was built by the same company that built the Eiffel Tower.The trees in this park have a disease that causes the unusual trunks. The color distortion is because the picture was taken through the bus window.
We were in Portugal about five years ago on a Douro River cruise and saw the sites in Porto at that time. Susan had bought a cork handbag then and loved it. Consequently, one of our missions in Porto was to get her a new cork handbag.I am happy to let you know that we succeeded despite a lot of the stores being closed for the May Day holiday. Portugal produces about half of the cork in the world. It comes from the bark of an oak tree. The cork can be harvested every nine years without hurting the tree. The bark that is removed will grow back during the nine years between harvests, so it is an environmentally friendly product. Susan loves to look cool and help the environment at the same time.
We have two sea days before reaching our final port of London.