Situated almost on the Spanish border Marvao with its serpentined walled fortress rests among other medieval hilltop towns in the eastern part of Portugal’s Alentejo. Perhaps the least populated region of Portugal, Alentejo means land beyond the Rio Tejo (Tagus River) and stretches from the Atlantic coast to Spain. Rich in agriculture and peppered with oak and cork trees this eastern section could be some of the most scenic of Portugal.
Unfortunately for us as we finished our dinner we could hear the wind whipping and rain pelting the windows of our tiny inn. Nearly midnight and contemplating our day’s journey Tim and I grabbed our jackets and a glass of Port and ventured into the fog as we roved the historic cobblestoned streets of Marvao. Eerie, cold the wind whistled and hissed. For a moment I thought I heard a waterfall or a fountain. But it was the wind speaking and with the force fierceness of its presence whipping hanging lanterns and causing strewn branches and leaves to dance hectically through the narrow streets.
We hoped, but were disappointed, that we couldn’t take the full grandeur of Marvao’s 360 degree view of the vast Alentejo as we explored the castle/fort that had seen the battles of Romans, Visigoths, Vandals, Christians, Moors and more. Yet that next morning with the cold rain, chilling winds and empty streets Tim and I felt once again alone in new lands tasting history.
I hope to grab a map and trace the route of this journey so you can get a better feel for where we’ve been and where we’re going. So stay tuned.
Photos: both shot by Tim Amos (1) Morning fog, mist and rain while looking into the courtyard at the Castle in Marvao; (2) Nightime walk through the cobbled streets that are lined with whitewashed houses high on a ridge overlooking the Serra de Sao Mamede while enjoying an after dinner glass of Port.