Sunday, 13 March 2011


Arriving at Elvas, we are dwarfed by the huge Aquaduto da Amoreira towering high above us. This town is one of the most complex and best preserved military fortifications surviving in Europe, from where Wellington prepared his troops for the battle of Badajoz.

The town gets more interesting as we wind our way up though the streets to the central square, which is large and graceful dominated by the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao.


Estremoz is one of the so called "marble towns" as the area is so rich in marble that it replaces bricks or concrete as a building material. The streets and squares of the town are clad in it.
Dom Dinis's palace within the castle walls, has been tuned into one of the most famous pousadas in Portugal, the Santa Isabel, where we stayed some 17 years ago.

The main square of the town, the Rossio, is very large and weekly, on Saturdays a huge market is held there. It is surrounded by many beautiful and interesting buildings, among them the Igreja de Sao Francisco, below.

Leaving Estremoz, we passed Evora by, as we have visited before and came again to Monsaraz to spend the night, watching the migrating Swallows diving in the darkness after insects attracted to the lights.
In the morning mist we left to come full circle back to Castro Verde.

The Little Bustards were still taking flight when threatened by Black Kites.

The Lesser Kestrels were still hunting.

Stone chats were still sitting watching us.

But the star attraction was the appearance of an Egyptian Mongoose coming home.

As the sun set, its light caught the roosting Cattle Egrets, high in some pines.

We say Goodbye to the wonderful Steppe lands, and wildlife of Castro Verde, we will return. 

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