We drove from Evora today, north to Castelo de Vide, where I got up onto another roof. (I know, what is the deal, right?) But just look at the view! This was the medieval fortress at the top of the hill. In the town there is a pretty little quarter called the Judiaria complete with a pretty little synagogue built in the 13th century. In the lower city there is a fountain with some of the coolest, freshest water I’d tasted in a long time.
(Apparently, this region of the Alentejo is also famous for numerous dolmen and menhir, which I thought was pretty exciting. However, we did not see any of these, just lots of Roman ruins. Our guide did say though that he would be happy to take us around to see them should we get enough people interested! Anyone? Anyone?)
And then we drove to Belmonte where we saw this Roman ruin just poking out of the landscape. Apparently it’s from the 1st century; tower of Centum Cellas, built at a crossroads. Over the centuries the locals just took the stones from the other buildings to use in their own homes and fences until this was all that is left. It’s enduring and sad all at the same time. What’s neat is that we could go right inside and touch the stones. The door lintels are quite low and it felt quite awesome to be in a place where human beings had lived so many thousands of years ago.
On our long drive between towns our guide stopped to show us what they refer to as a “hidden treasure”. From the road it didn’t look like much, but when we got out of the bus and looked over the edge, the marble quarry was quite astounding. I bet you can’t even see the people in the bottom of this picture, they’re so tiny. Marble is so abundant that half the houses and streets use it as paving, building materials and for decoration.
We got to Viseu, which is located on a plateau near the famous Dao Vinyards, to spend the night. The optional was for a dinner at Casa Da Insua described as a ‘food and wine pairing’.
It is the only time I have ever sat down at a table where there were four wine glasses for each setting. Yes, you read that correctly: four wine glasses. (And this did not include the tiny glass of port we were given at the end of it all!) And oh, was the food so tasty.Yes, they were mostly nibbly-sized portions, but come on, four main courses AND a dessert. Can’t really complain! By the end of it, most of us were quite chatty.
I wish I could remember all of the little dishes. I forgot to take pictures after the first glass of wine! The one pictured is a portion of goat cheese, a portion of a sausage roll and a portion of what looks like blood sausage, but tasted so much yummier than my previous experience with it. The little squiggle was raspberry, which went very nicely with the cheese. NOM. I could eat like that all the time – however, without all the walking we did during the day, I’d look slightly more blimpish than usual!