Sunday 29th November
Last night was not a quiet night. Almost as soon as the circus started up with very loud bass music a riot broke out. We thought it was a riot but we were parked facing the outside wall of the local sports club, there was a five a side football competition going on and the supporters were deafening blowing trumpets, banging drums and stamping feet. The football finished about 9.30pm but the circus went on until 11pm. We really should have gone to the circus, €5 for 4 hours entertainment!
And the view today, it’s already getting hot by 9.30am, it looks like we will have to slow down going south now.
One of our dilemnas yesterday was whether to visit a supermarket, or even if we could on a Sunday, but this is Portugal and lots of shops are open. Lucy had been looking out for a Continente supermarket since it sells her favourite sangria and she spotted one as we passed through Portalegra. Amazingly all the supermarkets were grouped together, Continente, LeClerc, Intermarche, Lidls and Mercadona and all of them were open.
I nipped into the Maxmat while Lucy struggled to carry all her booze back to Frankie. Every morning I get up first and have to grind the coffee ready for when Lucy decides to make an appearance (never before 9am). It’s a hand grinder and at the moment we have set it to a fine grind so it takes ages. If I nip into the local Portuguese B&Q I can buy a battery operated drill and let that do the grinding, it’s early days of testing but it may have been a false purchase. Anyways, while I was in there I saw a set of spanners and had a eureka moment. If you’ve followed us for a while you’ll know that the front bed broke last March. Bumping over the pedestrian crossings broke one of the arms, we had it repaired but it isn’t quite right and flaps around whenever there is a pothole or rough surface, I have to hold the bed up to stop it flapping so much. Anyway, to cut a long story short all I need is a thin length of metal to prop up the dodgy arm and since I have a 12mm open ended spanner in my tool box which isn’t going to be used for anything else…
Problem solved, until I try and take it out tonight so we can lower the bed, I hope not.
Then off we dawdled towards Elvas. It was on a possible place to visit last time but being slightly out of the way we let it keep for a while. Elvas is home to an enormous fortified town, possibly bigger than Blaye and very heavily defended by three or four layers of sheer walls. From the first gate you could see over the valley to another fortified town. The fortifications were designed in 1643 by the Dutch mathematician Jan Ciermans. The walls are star shaped with 12 faces, three gates, seven bastions, one redents (?) and a whole lot more.
Everywhere is gearing up for Xmas, luckily we haven’t heard any carols yet, we know you must all be suffering with the onset of Xmas and the winter weather so won’t rub it in too much!
King DManuel I, possibly the founder of Elvas. Elvas was a bit of a let down; it is Sunday so most things are closed but it felt just a bit too big and impersonal and we struggled to find any information. I would say however, what we did find was in three languages, one of them being English, which is a nice touch.
And then what do you think we found? Another viaduct. This one is on a far larger scale than the one at Segovia, it is 7790m long, it has 843 arches and is up to 31m high.
The plans were drawn up in 1498 but work didn’t begin until 1529. It wasn’t until 1622 that it was inaugurated.
A couple of panorama attempts. Our 10 year travel guide says that the aqueduct is still in use, we have our doubts,.
The town of Elvas is just to the left. We did find somewhere to park, but we are still a bit nervous about wild camping, there was a French couple there staying overnight (and they had their chairs out) but we decided to move on to a “proper” aire 10 miles down the road.
The view out the side window, just managed to miss sunset. We’ve had our chairs out all afternoon basking in the sun and as the sun set thousands of Pied Wagtails have been buzzing around looking for a roost in the trees next to us. We’re in Terrugem, a quite town with free wifi but as I write this the car park is filling up with cars, we’re hoping it is just for a church service and not another circus.
We’ve got free wifi but it seems to be one way, I’m struggling to send the blog. At 7pm lots of people came out of wherever they were singing songs, we thought they were carol singers at first but they all got in their cars and zoomed off. The birds are still tweeting in the trees but we can live with that.