Peniche and journey

We started early again today and were away from the camp at 7.00am. Off to see the standing stones in the next village. They are two Menhirs or standing stones probably from around the fifth or sixth millennia BC. The largest of them is 5.6 meters high and quite impressive.

On across country through some lovely scenery marred by some bad weather on route. We arrived at Peniche on the Atlantic coast by 1.30pm and set up camp right on the cliff tops overlooking a very angry ocean.  Sarah decided we were to walk to the harbour which proved to be further than the book said. The coast line is  amazing with slabs of what was once a limestone pavement , broken and scattered in unbelievable shapes. The harbour was very nice and we cut back through the centre of town saving a hours walk.


Mourao and Monsaraz

We continue our journey north with a visit first to Mourao notable for its pepperpot chimneys and its 14th century Castle, overlooking the new Alqueva dam and Barragem. The castle is in very good condition and they are trying to stabilise it as best as possible. The walls are walk able and it has eleven square towers in various stages of  repair. A very interesting morning.

Continuing on we came to our overnight stop at the camping aire at the Castle of Monsaraz.
A very steep ascent up a cobbled road lead us to the foot of the walls to the town and our camp site for the night. The views over the Barragem and the Valley of the Guadiana were breathtaking, a more beautiful spot to stay the night would be difficult and FREE.!!! as well. We took a walk around the town and of course the Castle. Thirteenth century again and with a bull ring amphitheatre as well. The town is all within the surrounding wall which is very complete with gateways around the perimeter.


Serpa is our next stop and is a Moorish town with an Aqueduct and castle rebuilt in the late 13th century. It is a very pleasant town with pretty whitewashed houses and well worth a visit.


Castro Verde bird reserve and campsite

We have now moved north again to Castro Verde and caught up with our pals Max and Marion who we met during the winter at Espiche. Max is a keen photographer and he and Marion had arranged a guided tour of the reserve. We had an early morning start at 7.00am and the weather was beautiful. Max lent me a 35mm digital camera with a 400mm telephoto lens which weighed a ton and off we went with our guide. The four of us plus our guide Hugo set off on the tracks across the moorland in search of the Great Bustard and other species.
Hugo was terrific and soon found our first birds of the day. During our seven hour trip we saw Great Bustard, Little Bustard,Red Kite,Imperial Eagle,Stone Curlew,Chough, Jackdaw,Black bellied Sandgrouse ,Calandra lark Little Owl, Montague s Harrier and Southern Blackeared Wheatear. This coupled with the day before with Griffon Vulture, Back Vulture and Golden Eagle, Long legged Buzzard and Lesser Kestrel, just about blew our minds. Wonderful day and great company. Thank you Max and Marion and of course our guide Hugo from the centre.

Golden Eagle
Griffon Vulture
Black Vulture
Golden Eagle
Lesser Kestrel
Long legged Buzzard
Black eared Wheatear
Great Bustard
Spanish Imperial Eagle
Little Owl
Great Bustards displaying
Red Kite
Stone Curlew

Pulo do Lobo

The walk at Pulo do Lobo took us once again by scooter to the Guadiana river. The information board told us that the walk along the river may be impossible if the river was high so we were not surprised when we walked to the bottom of the track to find that the pathway ended suddenly as the river was indeed in flood. We therefore took the other road to the end of the walk and to the waterfall !!!!!
When we arrived we looked down at the river and could not see any signs of a cascade of any kind. On further investigation we saw that the signs and the walkways were all  under water with only the tops appearing above the surface. The river was incredible with rapids that would test any canoeist. Great experience and a lovely walk. Will do it again at a time when we can actually see the waterfall.