Monday 30th November
The alarm bells went off at 8.30am this morning, a large flock of sheep, some wearing bells woke us up.
On the way to our next stop we passed this drinking fountain, very extravagant. Our destination is 40 miles from Terrugem along long straight roads, through a couple of villages and there was barely any sign of life. Acorn farms, vineyards, marble quarry and olive trees; everything is just so peaceful (and the sun is shining). We also passed more three castles.
Today we have used the All the Aires book and have chosen Monsaraz mainly because it is one of the highlighted aires. The above view is from the coach park, there were a couple of vans in there but behind us we could see the proper aire.
Can you see them just peeping out from behind the wall? Onto of the middle tower you may be able to make out a star and arrow, I’ll tell you later what that is about!
We took a quick recce of the route, it was steep but we’ve been up far worse. There were four vans in this aire, three were British so I went back to Frankie to bring him up.
It was very steep, I stalled the engine, I had tyres spinning but with a bit of careful leaning forward (a trick my dad taught me for getting up hills) we surmounted the obstacles put in front of us.
Here I am just parked up with wobbly legs.
And how much would you pay for a view like this? Zippo, zilch, nada, nothing, yet another free aire on the top of the world.
We took a walk into the fortified town. More steep cobblestones.
First stop is the fort (the one with the three towers. It’s a bit odd, seats either end of a large flat sandy area.
It’s the bull ring with fantastic views all round. Our 10 year old guide book says that it is still used a couple of times a year.
From the top of the fort you look out over the town. We’ve been told that only 45 people live here, there are twice as many houses and eight restaurants, it must be busy in the summer but now it is silent.
I mentioned the star and arrow, what do you normally find when there is a star. A lovely nativity scene.
In the road leading to the stable is a wise man bearing gifts.
Lots of people coming to see the little baby Jesus.
All along the main road, even down back streets.
A Nativity scene without sheep wouldn’t be proper.
And guards to keep the riff raft out. This is easily the best Nativity scene we have ever seen.
Unfortunately the tourist office was closed but this plaque above the gate gives us a date. Using my vast knowledge of latin inscriptions and remembering Lovely Cadbury’s Dairy Milk I think that M DC XL VI means 1646.