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Irene's Adventures

Portugal - Monsaraz

PORTUGAL | Monday, 11 September 2017 | Views [139]



Due to its geographical location, this hilltop has been occupied by different people since pre-historical time. Recorded history has the Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Mozarabs, Jews, and Christians here successively, as well. It reminded me of the Moorish Castle in Sintra, only in much better condition, but as with Sintra, part of the walls were incorporated into the cliffs.


We wandered around the entire castle, which was not very large. We got our first glimpse of a bull arena, which is obviously still used because there is a beer stand on one end.

Monsaraz  Monsaraz - Irene

We walked along the wall of the arena then back down into the town part of the fortress. There are shops, a couple of restaurants, and a few homes. We saw our first pomegranate tree. Pomegranates are so expensive at home that we drooled at the sight of an entire tree laden with fruit.

Monsaraz - pomagranate  

The Templar Tavern was closed, much to Ed's dismay, so we ate at a little cafe located on the fortress wall.


We could see for miles and miles and it was easy to see why this has been a strategic location for eons. It was a fun and relaxing visit but it was time to hit the road again.

 Monsaraz - Irene 

The GPS on my phone said to take a certain road, so we did. It was a very picturesque road but got progressively narrower and more crooked. We did not see one other vehicle for the 2 hours we were on it. We saw a few farms and there were miles and miles of olive groves and cork trees, but we did not see a single person. We passed a couple towns, and even there we did not see anyone. We passed an abandoned town and crossed its lovely, old stone bridge. We saw lots of stone fences overgrown with vines and prickly pear cactus. The road was basically a paved blueberry trail, and at times the pavement disappeared. All that said, it was beautiful. It was rather mountainous and heavy with the smell of pine and eucalyptus. We were grateful to see the busy highway again but sad that our leisurely drive was finished.

blueberry trail   abandoned town & nice bridge

We crossed the border into Spain and spent the next 12 days touring through Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Gibraltar UK, Malaga, and Cadiz. There is a separate blog on that part of the trip. 


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