It has been suggested that as well as our dinners and regular social events, most of which last a day or at most include one night away, there might be interest in the occasional longer trip together. This would allow a group of us not just to spend a bit more time in each other’s company but also to consider overseas places of interest.
One such that has been proposed is a visit to the city of Porto, in northern Portugal. Porto is the home of port, and as well as a lively and interesting city in its own right, it is the gateway to the northern Portuguese district of the Minho, including the historic towns of Braga and Guimarães, and to the valley of the River Douro.
The proposal is that the Phoenix Masters would arrange the core of the visit, as below, and two nights accommodation in a central hotel, but we would not organise flights. This allows people to arrange their own travel, and thus extend the visit with extra nights after the formal part of the trip – the very adventurous (or those wishing to buy a large amount of port!) may even want to drive there.
The organised part of our visit would include:
Day 1 A welcome dinner at a typical restaurant on the Ribeira (Douro quayside)
Day 2 A cruise on the River Douro under the “Six Bridges of Porto” – see the Ponte Luíz I above
Lunch in Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south bank of the river and the home of the port lodges
A visit to a port lodge for a tour and tasting, followed by a formal dinner
Day 3 End of the formal part of the visit. Members able to stay on if they wish – we would hope to arrange for the group rate at the hotel to continue to be available
This tour would be open to partners as well, and would probably cost around £600-£700 per couple for the 2 nights in a hotel and all arrangements in Porto (ie excluding air travel). The visit would probably work for a minimum of 10-12 people and a maximum of about 3 dozen.
At the moment we are only at the early stages of considering the visit, which will be discussed further at our AGM in September, at which a decision in principle to go ahead or not will be taken.
Please let me or other members of the Committee know your thoughts!