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A Trip to Remember

Portugal has been on my mind lately, as I have recently planned a trip for six clients to visit both Portugal and Spain next summer. With all the research I’ve been doing, I have enjoyed revisiting memories of my own fabulous trip there. What a country! If Portugal is not on your bucket list and you love history, culture, fabulous museums, great food, wine, and beautiful summer weather, you must add it to your list ASAP.

Our trip started off with a bit of a bummer experience for me

personally. Like most embarrassing stories, it starts with alcohol,

but not for the reasons you may think. Porto is known for its sparkling green wine, a real treat for wine enthusiasts, and I had planned

on trying it since the moment I first booked the trip. In fact, I had a bottle specially reserved for us at the kitchen of our B&B the night before we arrived. On our first day in the Azores after everyone had settled in, I thought I would go down to the kitchen and get the wine for everyone to enjoy. Once I picked up the wine I had almost made back to everyone but, in my excitement, I tripped while holding the bottle in one hand and the corkscrew in the other. It happened almost in slow motion as I tried to keep the bottle

from breaking and the corkscrew from flying. I landed on the stairs below, crumpling in pain. I am happy to report that the bottle remained unbroken and the corkscrew didn’t maim any of my fellow travelers, but my ankle was toast for the rest of the trip. Have you ever spent a day in an emergency room in a foreign country? I don’t recommend it! Several hours and many x-rays later (I swear the X-ray machines were left over from WWII) we finally left the emergency room. After two days of resting and pain medicine I was ready to limp my way through Portugal. We began our adventures in Porto.

Porto is a post card city. Located right on the Douro River, our divine hotel, The Yeatmanl overlooked a breathtaking scene. We were all in disbelief that we were staying an area so picturesque. We had the luxury of having breakfasts on our private terrace overlooking the river and really felt like we had escaped reality. You wouldn’t believe the beauty all around us! From the infinity pool to the gorgeous rooms, everything felt like utter perfection. Treat yourselves like the inner princesses and princes that you are and stay at the Yeatman Hotel (a Virtuoso property) as we did. You won’t regret it. While recuperating from my fall, I spent an entire day lounging by the pool, drinking in the landscape below, and sampling the menu one item at a time. That may have been one of my favorite days of the trip!

With the reality of my mangled ankle setting in, I knew that I must be proactive about adapting our daily travel arrangements to my newly

acquired handicap. So the next day I made one call to our Virtuoso travel connection in Portugal, and instantly all our hotels and guides in the country were notified of my injury! From then on we always had a car waiting for us wherever we went. Every hotel we stayed at transferred our rooms to the first floor or to nearest an elevator, so that I wouldn’t need to walk up and down stairs. Our guides in each city

were notified too and they adjusted our tours accordingly so that I could fully participate, despite my injury. That’s bespoke travel!

Custom and adaptable to one’s immediate circumstances.

The next day we spent an idyllic day on the Douro River. We took a private wine cruise, and I would highly suggest this to any vino

lover. We floated down the river for two hours enjoying the blissful afternoon. Scenic hillsides and calm waters surrounded us as we enjoyed the sunny day.When we docked, a car met us and drove us

up to a fairy tale looking old home that sits on the actual working vineyard, the beautiful Crasto vineyards. Although you may find a bottle from Crasto on the shelf at your local wine store, I assure you it is not their best stuff! They keep that for local consumption only, and I recommend that you consume as we did, with vigor.

In the outside area of the Crasto home, the outlook offered a view of sprawling vineyards and rolling hills with the Douro River running through it. The service from the vineyard itself was wonderfully

unobtrusive. They brought us a buffet of different local foods and appetizers and left us alone to soak up the tranquil atmosphere.

We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Late in the day a car picked us up, relaxed and contented, and rumbled us back

to our hotel. We could not have asked for a more delightful afternoon.

In addition to the fabulous wines, the food in Portugal is stupendous.

GMO’s were nowhere to be found, and everything we had

was at the peak of freshness. One of our favorite restaurants was Veneza, which sits down by the beach in the southern area of

Portugal in the Algarve Region. We took a car down to the restaurant from our hotel and once there, left the ordering up to our waiter.

He did not disappoint. Imagine fish so fresh you couldn’t even believe it was possible, the ripest most flavorful vegetables and potatoes, in combination with some of the most fabulous wine you’ve ever tasted; that may give you an idea of how much we loved our meal. Even now I don’t know how I can compare anything else to Porto’s seafood.

Overall Portugal was magical. The idea that it started with a literal “trip” is almost comical now, and the fact that I actually had a fantastic time despite the bad start just speaks to how much we loved our stay. The

whole experience really affirmed why I love luxury customized travel. Minor disasters such as mine really highlight the reasons why we book the way we do at Paul Klein travel. I hope that the trip to Portugal that

I’m currently booking for my clients is just as memorable and enjoyable, albeit less injury prone!

Happy travels, friends-


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