Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
I flew out to Brussels on Saturday to see my friend Cee and her daughter, Ais. I wrote about Ais and the operation here. We had a lovely two days together, timed so Ais was home from the rehab unit for the weekend, and I could give her a massage as promised. Ais is doing really well, she walked 15 steps, on her own . It's still awful to see her struggle so much to make just one step, remembering how she would run around, and it's hard that she needs a wheelchair for outings, but it's a big improvement in a short time. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for her, and kept them in your thoughts.
We chilled out, our only outing to a bookshop-cum-restaurant. That's a whole other post.
When looking at the return flight, I just couldn't face the "silly o'clock"/ 5am at the airport" start. Ryanair had lovely, cheap flights to Madrid from Brussels, so I decided to make a detour on the way home. The girls flew out from Dublin to join me- their first "alone with no adults" flight.
We loved Madrid!
Perfect weather, friendly people, and lots of good food
- all the ingredients for an enjoyable break.
We didn't do a "whirlwind", preferring instead to savour fewer activities and leave some for a future visit.
But we did do the bus tour, just to get a flavour of Madrid,
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The cave has been flooded badly on a number of occasions, and Jessica showed us marks on the wall where the tide had been, several meters high.
The good news is that the port wasn't damaged at all- those barrels were waterproof. Phew!
The bottom number here is the number of litres left in the barrel,
I must apologise for the shine on the photo- I promise I hadn't been drinking port when I took this- the tour was so fast-moving that I had to just point, shoot, then move on so I wouldn't miss any of the interesting stuff.
At the end, we got to taste two (large) samples of port, one white, yummy, and one tawny red. I had never tasted white port before, so that was interesting, and I would definitely be game for that again!
I don't drink red wines, so just took a tiny sip of the red one.
These are the kind of boats that would be used to transport the fermented port from the Duoro Valley to the cave-warehouse in Porto, where it is left to mature in the huge barrels.
They are no longer used, this one if just for show. Trucks are faster.
The most interesting thing I learned was about the little barrels. They are used first to mature table wine for 3 years, then the port house gets them, and uses them for 50 years. The port loses its colour as it matures, bleeds it into the oak of the barrel.
The barrels are then sent to Scotland and used to mature whiskey. The whiskey is naturally clear, colourless liquid, but as it matures, it takes the colour back from the oak.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
It's online from 12GMT and you can get it by clicking on this image