Yesterday we enjoyed a beautiful  3.5 hr train ride, that for the last 2 hours, followed the Douro River, where we would paddle for the next 9 days.  The hills displayed fascinating patterns of vineyards with rows of grapes going every which way along terraces that I am sure took years to build, and have been there for many, many years or centuries.  I didn’t take many pictures since we were in the train and we would hopefully see it all again.

This was snapped from the highway – more olive trees than vineyards

We then took a 1.5 hr van ride, after a relaxed lunch up and over more hills, this time with more olive tree orchards than anything else.  It was an interesting journey into the back of beyond.  We ended at a small town called Barca D’Alva, across the river from Spain.

Unfortunately this is where our journey ends for the foreseeable future.  Bill woke up with a bit of a cough and stuffy nose, which by afternoon had progressed into full blown flu symptoms.  We confirmed with a self-test that Bill did is positive for Covid19. We have been so so careful, but just so may people around, that it’s hard to avoid it I guess.

View from our room

So we are now in this tiny town, under the care of the kind hotel/restaurant owner.  At least our room has a balcony so I can step out for fresh air, especially since I sleep with a mask! Thankfully we have a room with two beds, so we can socially distance at night!   Bill sleeps a lot, and his aches and pains have subsided some with the help of drugs.  All we can do at this point is wait it out for several more days, and hope that we can rejoin the group 1/2 way or towards the end of the trip.  In the mean time we can only take it easy and maybe go for a couple walks across the bridge to Spain.  Connectivity  (cell and wifi) is spotty at best, so I will update when I can.  Right now I am wondering in front of the one bar to find the strongest wifi signal.  

Needless to say we are disappointed; tears were shed when I saw the group depart this morning.  All 12 of of us on the tour are what I call “2020 refugees”; we had all signed up for a trip in 2020, so we were all pretty excited about finally being able to do this paddle in such a beautiful and historic area.  Our fearless 81-year leader (and founder of the company) decided to do one more year of guiding because he felt he owed it to all of us.  

Here’s hoping we get to experience at least part of this magical tour down the river.   

4 thoughts on “Stranded

  1. Damn! So sorry to see that this has hit you at exactly the wrong time.
    We’ve just finished yet another Hilly Hike in the White Mountains (and it left us exhausted). Both Dave Caron and Barb Cousineau attended, and said that they each had COVID in March, with minimal symptoms. In the end, we’re all going to get this, and perhaps it’s best if Dianne and I get it before we retry our river cruise.
    Fingers crossed that you get through this safely and as quickly as can be expected!


    1. Thanks John. Speaking of river cruises, they have them on the Douro as well! This town is actually the terminus for the ‘normal trip’. We saw several on the river from our train and were expecting to meet them regularly when we paddle.


  2. Sad to hear about this unexpected turn in your trip. Sending positive thoughts and hoping you will be able to join the group. All the best to Bill for a speedy recovery. ❤


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