It was a cold and foggy morning so we went back to bed and didn’t get going until after lunch. After the dry plains of Spain, we have been surprised by the lush green pastures and fields of grape vines, cork, olive,orange and lemon trees. The place we are staying at has a juicer and a tree filled with lemons, not so drinkable though. On our drive to our first stop, we passed numerous derelict houses with trees filled with oranges, just waiting to be picked. Andrew decided oranges were just what we needed, so we made a stop so Max and Ava could collect a few, to make some juice tomorrow morning. Ava did discover that we were not the first to raid the tree.
Our first official stop on the tourist trail was Menhir Outeiro, a monolith which is 5.6 m high with a 1 m diameter and is a phallic shape. Okay, so the kids were not impressed and can’t believe this was a tourist attraction.
Although my kids were not impressed, it is believed to the be the largest monolith in Portugal and was discovered lying on the ground in 1969 by Henrique Leonor Pina and Jose Pires Goncalves and was classified as a National Monument in 1971. It is believed to have been sculpted early in the 4th millennia and the middle of the 3rd millenia. So if you are interested in monolith add this one to your list.
Continuing on our tour of ABC (Another Bloody Castle) we visited Monsaraz Castle. Monsaraz is a fortified hilltop town which has a magnificent view over Alqueva Lake and its surrounding islands.
Monsaraz is often described as a living museum, filled with narrow, cobbled streets that are lined with white washed houses. The small village is home to around 150 permanent residents, who live mostly off tourism. In fact during our time there we hardly saw any locals and if we did, they were unobtrusively getting on with their lives.
At the southern end of the town stands a 13th century castle with well preserved towers. The interesting thing about this castle is that within its walls is a bullring, complete with slate seating at either end and was established around 1830.
The view from atop the walls and towers sweep over the farmlands of olives and vines and also over the Rio Guadiana (Guadiana River) and Alqueva Lake.
As it is close to Christmas when we were visiting, the town had been decorated with life size, pink and white nativity scenes, unfortunately they were featureless which made them a little creepy. See what you think of them?
Monsaraz is a beautiful and charming, fortified village, well worth a visit.
Entrance into the Castle is Free and is open 24 hours a day
For further information on the town of Monsaraz follow the link below: http://www.cm-reguengos-monsaraz.pt/pt/visitar/Paginas/list-monsaraz.aspx