Points of Interest

Pinhão station tiles

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Pinhão station tiles

Pinhão station tiles 15The Pinhão station tiles is a set of 24 panels constituted from a total of 3024 individual tiles. Images of the landscape of Douro Valley and the traditional works around here, they are the Pinhão ex libris.

Being a logistical town without old historical monuments, the tiles are with the landscape our most important patrimony.

History of Pinhão station tiles

Pinhão train station was build in the end of 19th Century and opening to the public in 1880. The tiles only arrived 57 years after the inauguration, in the year of 1937, during the period of “New State”, the Salazar dictatorship.

The tiles were an offer from Port Wine Institute in 1935. They were commissioned to a very famous tiles factory in the city of Aveiro named Aleluia. Aleluia asked to the artist J. Oliveira, famous tiles painter, to make the work from photos of the region. He finished the work in 1937, date when they were applied in the train station.

All the tiles are made in the Portuguese tiles tradition with the white, blue and ocher colors.

The set of 24 panels of tiles was totally restored in 2011 in a joint work between REFER and the National Museum of Tiles.

Themes of Pinhão station tiles

As I mentioned before, the chosen themes were the landscapes of the Douro Valley and representations of the agricultural works of the region. When we talk about agricultural works here, we are, obviously, talking about the works in the vineyards.

Pinhão station tiles 1

River Douro Pinhão

In this panel you could see an image of Douro river near Pinhão.

In the left margin you could observe a traditional Rabelo boat with open sails, probably carrying barrels of the famous Port wine. Probably because it seems that she is in the south bank of the river.

In the opposite side you are able to see the railway line that was making the connection between Porto and Spain.

Pinhão station tiles 3River Douro from São Salvador do Mundo

Another perspective of Douro river now from one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Douro Valley, São Salvador do Mundo.

São Salvador do Mundo is a place that you shouldn’t miss.

It belongs to São João da Pesqueira and a long way from Pinhão. But from here you are able to see the border of two Douro Valley sub regions, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior.

Pinhão station tiles 4Wine National Station of Douro in Torto River

The panel of Wine National Station of Douro in Torto River represents one of the former institutions that was regulating the wine production in Portugal.

In this case, this organization had responsibilities in the regulation and scientific promotion of Douro viticulture.

Like the Pinhão station tiles, the National Stations also born in the “New State” age. You could see here apart from the ornamental purpose also a propaganda objective. You must remember that we were in the beginning of the Second Republic, the “New State”. The new Constitution was settled in 1934. Salazar had the power now. Strong leader, no elections, censorship and propaganda, these were the pillars of the new regime.

Men carrying the heavy baskets

Pinhão station tiles 6Pinhão station tiles 8Here the strong men from Douro Valley are preparing themselves to carry the heavy baskets to the winery.

This was one of the hardest jobs in Douro Valley.

The basket full of grapes were weighing more than 70kg. This men job was the hardest during the harvest. The weight of the load associated with the difficulty of the terrain and the high temperature forge the people in Douro region.

Nowadays this work is more reasonable. The weight is now in average 25kg and you could count with the help of tractors and vans. Even so, in some cases in the most difficult access vineyards you still have to carry the baskets on your back.

This is the cost to produce one of the best wine of the world.

Loading the Port wine in the Rabelo Boats

Pinhão station tiles 12In this panel you could see the load of Port wine barrels in the traditional Rabelo boat.

The scene is in Pinhão in a place that we still call “praia”. “Praia” means beach. The beach as already gone with the increase in the level of water caused by the construction of dams in the 60’s.

The wine transport changed a lot in Douro Valley since this time. After the arrival of train to Pinhão in 1880, the producers start progressively moving from Rabelo boats to the railway line.

The boats stayed fighting the train for the expedition of wine to Porto until the middle of the 20th Century. In 1961 there was only 6 boats working.

Nowadays the wine transport is mainly made by truck due to the flexibility and cheaper price that the producers get.

The rest of the tiles panels

The rest of the 24 tiles panels is something that I’ll leave to you to discover and enjoy.

If you need some sort of help here in Pinhão please just email me.

Come now to see the beautiful tiles of Pinhão train station

Torto Valley the scary road in Douro

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The Torto Valley is one of the best kept secrets of the Douro Valley

Follow me in the scary road curves of Torto Valley. This road connects Ervedosa do Douro to Bateiras, near the mouth of the Torto. And it is one of the best routes you can do around the Douro Valley.

It’s a two-way road but it only passes one car at a time.

Your attention should be fixed on the narrow road.

If you want to enjoy all this beauty turn off the car in the middle of the road. Pull the handbrake. Engage reverse gear and enjoy.

Prepare yourself for the worst

While driving always prepare for the worst. A car in the opposite direction. A truck loaded with grapes. Agricultural machinery. Or, workers who return home after a hard day’s work in the vineyards.

Be ready to do 200 meters in reverse. Reverse on a road that looks like a snake coiling down the mountain. A road with tight curves with more than 300º placed against cliffs with more than 30 meters.

I do not want to scare you but, you will have to look always for a point where two cars can cross.

Often you have to climb in to the middle of the vineyards which is not advisable to cars without four-wheel drive. Even better is an all terrain vehicle.

How to get to the Torto Valley

The river Torto is a tributary of the Douro River and is part of this wonder of the Douro valley.

I thought a lot before revealing this amazing place by the magnificence of its landscape.

There are places I reserve in my writings and this was one of them.

I reserve because I want to save them only for my clients.

I want to continue to be able to surprise but this is a place so beautiful that it seems a crime not to reveal it.

How to get there forgive me but I’m not going to say. I want that the Torto Valley remains a little more one of the best well kept secrets of the Douro Valley.