The clouds were low and it was dark and wet as we set off from Vila Viçosa for the Pousada at Flor da Rosa. We could have whizzed directly there up fast, new roads, 85 km in 1.5 hours, but then you see very little, and certainly don’t have the time to absorb the feel of the country. So instead I planned a journey which would take most of the day and which was closer to 160 kms on the backroads, a route perhaps less-travelled.
Our first stop was Juromenha Castle on the Guadiana River, the border with Spain. (I will do another post on this extraordinary place, a must-visit in this area, and a town and castle to which I will return.) There was no-one else around, either in the castle or the surrounding village and it was eerily silent in the grey dampness.
The weather didn’t lift although there were a few breaks in which we could see the lush and flowery Alentejo between Juromenha and Campo Maior, our next stop.
I managed a blurred image of the Castle of Campo Maior but when we got there it was firmly locked. We walked round King Dinis’ 14C Castle; investigated the Parish Church in the town, and peered into the Ossuary of 1766 (containing the bones of the people killed in a gunpowder explosion in the Castle in 1736).
The sky was darkening again and there was just time for a quick stroll around the block and a hot cup of coffee (the town is home to Delta Coffee) before retreating into the car as the rain started again. We had only enjoyed a hint of what this important and very old town of Campo Maior could offer. It joins the list of must-return visits!
The day continues in the next post!