29th March 2017. Marvão, Portugal.

We started our morning by checking our emails, I had quite a surprise when my first email pinged in, it was an advertising message from the comedian Henning Wehn!  How spooky is that, I’ve NEVER received advertising material from him before!  At least it saved us having to check out his name on Google after all!

I was sad to leave Elvas this morning it was so amazing to wake up to that HUGE aqueduct I will never forget how it disappeared completely in the fog yesterday and how it glowed in the sunrise this morning.

We drove to Marvão which is in the Serra de Sao Mamede Natural Park.  It was a lovely journey, we travelled through beautiful countryside and up some windy mountain roads (I could have done without us meeting cars on each hairpin bend but it seems to have stopped phasing Darren now) [it never did phase me, it was just inconvenient], however it was well worth the windy roads, the area de servicio at Marvão has the most stunning views and it wasn’t far to walk to the walled town which was a bit further up the hill to the side of the area de servicio.

We had a brief chat with a Dutch couple and we all watched (and photographed) a shepherd walk his flock through the area de servicio before we set off to the town.

Once we reached the town we sat in the courtyard of a cafe drinking coffee, eating a yummy Portuguese walnut biscuit and trying to work out some sort of plan for when we get home (we didn’t succeed with that).

Entertainment was also unintentionally laid on in the form of a little fluffy white dog and a cheeky white cat.  The little dog was apparently waiting to be let back into his home and was ambling around finding lots of nice smells to sniff in the meantime.  Whilst this was going on we could see the white cat bouncing around up on a bank, (the dog was completely oblivious to him).  The cat was so full of energy that at one point he disappeared behind a hedge and suddenly did a vertical take off, appearing briefly ABOVE  the hedge.  He eventually calmed down for a short while and sat quietly watching the dog until he could no longer contain himself and he leapt off the bank on to the unsuspecting dog’s back then almost immediately raced off up the street whilst the little dog stood looking around with a bemused look on his cute little face and we broke down in hysterics!

We could have sat there all day but we pushed ourselves to carry on exploring the town and I’m VERY glad we did.  On the way up the hill we were stopped by 8 people to tell us that the climb up was well worth it and they weren’t exaggerating.  It was a fantastic place to wander around, we walked down into the depths of the castle to look at the huge cistern where they could store enough water to last 6 months during a siege, it made nice echoes.

We had our lunch sitting up on the battlements where we heard the most beautiful singing coming from the other side of the battlements.

There were only two other people there with us so we assume the lady was singing.  Unfortunately not long after I started filming she stopped so I only got a short clip of her singing.  We  wandered over to see what had been creating such lovely acoustics, the room they’d been standing in was great, it had a vaulted ceiling and was empty except for a narrow staircase which disappeared into the ceiling and up to the roof.

We had a great time exploring the castle, we started going up along another part of the battlements but my vertigo got the better of me as the ledge went up some very narrow steps so we turned around and I shuffled back the way we’d just come.

The town had some pretty gardens, again with great views over the valley.  We found a bar with a noisy parrot (he was a bi-lingual parrot, he’d learned to say hello) and I sat and enjoyed the view with a glass of port while Darren pinged What’s App’s to our family in between sips of his ice cold beer.  The roofs are very interesting in Spain and Portugal, I love the colours on the tiles and the chimneys which look like little houses.  I watched a black coloured bird who sat huddled on a steeple for ages, every so often a swift would hurtle past him and he’d turn his little head to watch it.  It looked like a very uncomfortable place to perch.

From the bar we began to head back to the van but not before we were sidetracked by another pretty park.  We’d heard a man’s voice, he sounded like he was angry with the person he was talking to but when we passed him he was actually just chatting to a teenage girl who turned around, smiled at us and said “Olá”.

For some reason, it must have been the port, I decided to follow Darren as he walked around the battlements back to the gate we came in.

We got a strange look from an elderly lady walking along the street below, we’re assuming people only tend to walk on the battlements in the castle.  I was doing fine until it came to walking down the steps back to the street (about 10m high), they were narrow, nothing to hold on to and without a wall around the back of the top step my  head suddenly went “AAAARGH! KEEP AWAY, KEEP AWAY!” and my legs agreed and suddenly went very wobbly.  That put us in a bit of an awkward position, I could either shuffle all the way back the way we’d come (which was a long way) or carry on and hope there were some more suitable steps to climb down that my head didn’t dislike.  Darren told me to go and stand against the tower wall while he went to see what was ahead.

It took him quite a while so I thought I’d have another go of walking down the steps where we were, just the sight of seeing Darren starting to walk down them started my vertigo off again so we decided to carry on along the wall where Darren said it got low enough in the car park to clamber off the wall.  We walked above the door we’d entered the town and found a much shorter flight of steps which I was able to clamber down.  We walked back to the van and watched the sun go down over the plain.

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