8 October - Portugal 🇵🇹
Yay, not only are we now in Portugal, but we gained an hour by doing so! I hadn’t realized that it’s the same time here as Guernsey, but Spain is an hour ahead.
We had closed all the blinds last night, including the roof ones because of street lighting. Consequently it was 8.30 before we woke up - oops!
Packed up and Tintin drove. Stopped off for fuel, as Dave is guzzling quite a lot, and we think it is cheaper in Spain than Portugal. Only took about 30 minutes until we were in Portugal. We were waved past the Civil Guards, who only seemed to be stopping trucks. The electronic toll registration is only on 4 different routes in. We entered our credit card details as we are foreigners here, it came up with error. Tintin had read this can happen, so he called the number on the receipt later, and it was fine, the cameras had picked up our registration number, so no problem.
First thing we noticed was lack of abundance of road signs! Approaching bends, well sometimes the chevrons (yellow on black, different!) were there, but often not! We went on the scenic route. It was too, roads quite narrow at times, and not much spare tarmac at the edges. Also the opposite of straight! So many rolling hills, very pretty.
Took over an hour, and we’re at:
Montalegre - free
Described as large, open, sloping area which is used as a livestock and general market. Guess what, we’re the only ones here - again! Billy no mates! Went for a quick walk into town. Bought a magnifying glass (for our small print map!), whilst in a shop looking for our elusive rubber door wedge, and a few bits from a supermarket. Really strange hearing and needing to speak a different language! Phrase book out and at the ready!
Came back and had lunch, and read our books for a while. Waited until shops should be open, and back into town. Walked up towards the castle, and found what we thought was the tourist information. It was so much more! A lady went off to find a lovely informative man who spoke English. It was actually the Eco Museum, we saw a 10 minute video - there were three floors of interactive ‘stuff’, and the man helped out with anything not in English! The pictures of the ‘milestones’ are from Roman times, but it’s now about half it’s original height! The picture with all the implements and the ‘thatch’ shows what people used to wear to protect themselves from the weather.
The castle is in the process of being repaired, and won’t be open until next year. Shame really! The view from the top was the best! So open, and very pretty. Lovely serene feel about the place.
Friday the 13th - The Witches Night takes place whenever the 13th falls on a Friday. It’s a huge thing here, about 50,000 people turn up, the whole town dresses for the occasion, and it becomes a festival. It has won awards for the Best Public Event in 2010 and 2012 (judged by whom, I don’t know!) - so if you’re in the area next September and December, you could be in for a treat!
The locals here describe the area as ‘9 months of winter, 3 months of hell’. We must have hit lucky. The sun has been out all day, strange - hot, but also cold when in any shade!
Tintin would have loved to have taken more photos, there were groups of old men sat together in the shade of the day having a good natter. There looked to be some lovely elderly residents, but rude to photograph them!
For €1.50, we bought the two huge custard pastries, tea will be delayed due to being filled up with pastry!
We’ve had more interaction and friendliness in a couple of hours here, in comparison with the whole time in Spain - I have a good feeling about being here!