Welcome back to my little corner of the internet!
I have been a bit silent lately, but I happened to find myself quite swamped with work, travels and such.
Today we are going to start our trip to Portugal. As this was my very first time visiting this country, I would like to take you along with my impressions and adventures. Before we start, let me introduce our merry group. We traveled with my husband, my mom, her small dog Loki and our VW Golf. The latter is a very important detail for the trip, as it is a car with gear change and I belong to the European minority that prefers automatic cars.
With this in mind, we start to our first stop: Monsanto. This is a small town, you could call it a village, right across the Portuguese border. The old part of the town is located around the Templar castle. What strikes about Monsanto is that the castle and the houses seem to grow out of huge granite boulders.
The arrival was quite rocky (no pun intended), as the town has very narrow and steep streets. Literally a path between two houses going up and the car is supposed to fit through with the side mirrors folded. My mom drove, since she is from the mountains and used to those roads, whereas I nearly died of a heart attack.
But, once we crawled up and down to our AirBnb, settled in and we were ready to explore. Our host showed us a secret road to the castle and we strolled through the scenic road. This path leads you once around the castle and through huge boulders of granite. These were mostly used as natural walls against invading enemies from Spain.
Once you climbed up to the castle, you’ll understand why the Templars built their defenses from the Moors from Spain. You have a gorgeous view all the way to Spain a 20 km away.
Back in the village, we visited a couple of Romanic churches and our host treated us to a gorgeous homemade meal.
The following day, we got back in our car on the way to Porto, through the biggest natural park in Portugal, Parque Serra da Estrela.
[To be continued…]