At the Carrapatelo Dam is the highest lifting lock on the Douro. It lifts the vessels a full 35m. It took 7 years to build and is almost 100m in length.
This is what you see as you enter.
Look how narrow it is. The crew are all along the side helping the helmsman steer a straight course. We were not allowed to move in front of the wheelhouse. Note the fingers extending upwards. Inside there are some dramatic cascades as the water flushes down. This is a selection of ‘lock shots’.
It is a strange experience being confined like this. Gradually you start to rise with the boat and suddenly the sunlight drapes itself over you. You look back and realise the enormous feat of engineering that has made this river navigable so far.
We are flanked by groves of Olive trees, vineyards and sometimes plantations for the oak bark that provide us with our corks. The energy of the lock subsides and the afternoon slumber sets in. Hot, arid landscapes, where there is little to do but play games with the reflections in the water, muse about your fellow travellers and wonder, what the next bend in the Douro brings. I retired to our cabin and sat out on our private mini balcony. Mrs. Ha doubtless took a nap. All was well with the world. Not a tourist guide in sight. Luxury.