Alentejo or Tuscany? … 9/4/16

When the rain started we had been forewarned that it was here for the duration. Unfortunately the weather forecast was right, so after buying a few essentials we set off to cross the border into Portugal – just in case you wondered…. The border crossing was mine, I took it with both hands on the steering wheel (as we were being blown from side to side) and with glory…. arriving at Evora for lunch. We parked up close to where we were just over 15 months ago for New Year (GPS n38 50′ 35″ w 07 54′ 24″) and once the rain slowed down late afternoon, set off into town to get Wifi’d up and see what had changed in the last year or so.

Not much had changed – although you get a lot more wifi data for your money nowadays – Evora is still as beautiful and peaceful as it was. It is one of those towns that you can keep going back to as not only is it in the Alentejo region which is known for its excellent wine and food, it also has everything you need from history and culture through to nice shops and ample patisseries, restaurants and bars.

Not wanting to spend too much time on repeated ground, we relocated to the Intermarche on the edge of town for the second night where there is now a service area (GPS n 38 42′ 03′ w 08 03′ 53″) enabling us to do the necessary for Mika whilst also doing the washing before moving on.

Leaving Evora behind, we set off towards a small hill village called Marváo, stopping briefly a Estramoz en route for a wander around. Estramoz is one of Portugal’s biggest Marble mining towns, as you walk through the streets of the old town you can see how it is influenced by its surroundings as many of the houses have white/pink marble around the doors and windows. The most impressive – although personally I wouldn’t say attractive – marble building however was definitely the convent at the top of the hill.


After lunch we moved on and up to the beautiful village of Marváo where we parked up in an Aire (GPS n39 23′ 39″ w07 22′ 26″) with views out into Spain and beyond …. There were even a few mountains in the distance with crisp white stuff on top 🙂


As you can see from the photo, despite having stunning views… We were quite glad that it wasn’t raining as we would have been washed down the hill.

Marváo is a walled village with a IX century castle both of which have been kept impeccably. We were truly surprised when they only asked 1.30 euros to go inside as the views alone were worth ten times that.


What I can’t work out is how they don’t have any decent postcards as I have a dozen beautiful photos (if I don’t say so myself – ahem!!) – perhaps I should be going into business…


Leaving our perch on the side of Portugal, we headed all of 13km down the road to Castelo de Vide where we parked up next to the stadium and athletic track on the edge of town (GPS n39 24′ 37″ w07 26′ 57″). Castelo de Vide describes itself as having a bit of everything and I think we can happily confirm that is pretty much true.

After a quick visit to the tourist office and finding a couple of walking routes, we set off into the hills onto the other side of the valley. The walk was mostly off road and incredibly tranquil, giving us views of Castelo de Vide from almost all angles. Castelo de Vide is on a fault line – which we didn’t realise – but that is what accounts for the dragon like rock formation along the top of the surrounding hills.

Returning back to the Motorhome we decided that we should try out our local bar, where in exchange for 1.60 euro – ahhh, that brings back memories of our first day in Portugal in 2014 – we received a bottle of beer and a glass of wine with stunning views…. Happy days

As we were next to the athletic track I thought I would give it a go in the morning, so set off to do my laps pushing myself on the first straight each time round and came back exhausted and with an average speed 1.3km faster than I have been doing recently…. Note to self, must try harder on my normal runs 😦

Breakfasted, we set off to explore Castelo de Vide, heading up to the castle…. today it was only a twentieth century construction so not that attractive, but then down into the Jewish quarter which was full of twisty, steep, narrow cobbled streets. It is pretty impressive how the older generation still manage to get up and down some of these streets – or perhaps that is why they last so long!


Happy that we had explored Castelo de Vide to the full, we excelled and managed all of the 17kms to get to the Aire at Barragem Povoa (GPS n39 29′ 02″ w07 32′ 51″), located on the side of the reservoir in pure tranquility. Yesterday we set off round the north side of the reservoir for a leisurely stroll meeting a couple sturdy bulls en-route …. One of them jumped out of a hedge just in front of us …. I am not sure who was more scared, him or us. Today, not a bull in sight, we walked the longer route to the south getting back as the dark grey clouds were gathering strength for the storm that is due over the next week or so 😦

I am sure that you can see the similarities from the photos, it is very scenic in this area of Portugal and there is definately a hint of Tuscany here, maybe it is the Olive groves, maybe the rolling hills, but there are definately some similarities.

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