Day Six: Birthday Trip in Post (or Still) Pandemic Time

I learned today that Portugal has closed again its borders for foreign visitors: lucky me who is already in the country. In fact, I may stay longer than planned originally, because my flight back home has been canceled by United Airlines and so far I did not find any reasonably priced alternative.

Anyway, today is a day of a long drive from the North to the province of Alentejo, one of the least populated and least visited provinces on the Southeast of Portugal. I booked a very nice AirBnB on organic farm near town Castelo de Vide and was planning some serious hiking and wine-tasting (Alentejo is well known for its wines). The only real destination for today was the medieval village of Monsanto. It praises itself as “the most beautiful and the most Portuguese” village. Not sure whether it is the “most”, but definitely very “beautiful.”

Monsanto sits on the top of the cliff and is – truly amazingly – built around and inside huge boulders. Some of these boulders are actually used or serve as the roofs or walls of the houses.

There is a castle (ruins of the castle) above Monsanto. I climbed there and the view was breathtaking

Three more hours and I arrived to my farm and home. The house where I stay was built in 18th century in traditional Alentejo style. My hosts decorated it beautifully both inside and outside.

I hiked a little bit around their property (16 acres, with hundreds of olive trees) and found … an ancient dolmen: yes, my hosts “own” this megalithic tomb. What a surprise.

But when I came back to the house, there was yet another surprise waiting for me and prepared by my hosts: a bottle of local wine and the strawberries from their garden.

Good night!

One thought on “Day Six: Birthday Trip in Post (or Still) Pandemic Time

  1. What an adventure! How you managed to just get into Portugal in the 30 seconds that they had the door open! Such a unique chance to visit a country’s most beautiful spots when they are not filled with tourists. I imagine this is what it must have been like many years ago when only the “elite” could possibly travel.


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