After leaving the wonderful hill top views of Marvão we went south and downhill to another hilltop village of Monsaraz. This time the view was over an enormous man made lake, apparently the largest in Europe.
Our aires book had warned of steep and twisty access to the terrace where there was designated free parking for motorhomes. There is a large viewpoint as you reach the village so we pulled in there while I went on a recce and Kate chatted to another English couple. Access looked to be steep over very rough cobbles but otherwise was OK. What I hadn’t noticed were all the deep scratch marks on the road where a steep ramp and steep road camber had made vehicles, including ours, bottom out. Still, no serious damage done and we rumbled over the cobbles to our high terrace with its view to die for. It has been described as the aire with the best view in the whole of Portugal and we wouldn’t disagree (GPS 38.44238º -7.38024º).
In the late afternoon we went to explore the fortified village with yet another castle. Much lighter walls and defences than Marvão and there was not great deal to see in the remains of the fort where it appears there was a bull ring at one time. It was though, a very attractive small town with its white buildings glistening in the sun and contrasting with the deep blue sky. We could have timed our visit a little better because we started our walk round at the same time as the jabbering contents of a coach. As they all tended to go in one direction together we went the opposite way and managed to mostly avoid the noisy throng.
We were now at a lower altitude of about 1000ft rather than the 2500ft we had previously been, so it was much warmer. For once we had the roof vents open and the heating off and walked around in tee shirts and, for the first time, no fleece.