Jo’s Monday walk : Castelo de Vide

A hazy beauty, not quite real?  Looking back to just over two weeks ago, I have to wonder if I dreamt it.  But no- as so often, my photographs tell the story.  Castelo de Vide, in Portugal’s Alto Alentjo, a world away from our current woes.

I had come in search of a mighty fortress, at hilltop Marvão, and all I knew of Castelo de Vide was its spa waters, bottled on shelves as far away as the Algarve.  But where there are castles, there is often a sad interlude in history, and so it is, here.  During the Spanish Inquisition, many Jews fled across the border to make their home within these castle walls.  And the resulting Jewish quarter is like nowhere I’ve ever seen.  Complete with Synagogue, though the international crisis was catching up with even this remote place, and I was unable to look inside.

The castle itself was closed for renovation, but I had climbed the hill anyway.  How glad I was, for it was not the castle itself that was the prize.  The medieval streets within the walls were astounding, with solid stone doorways, preserved in all their beauty, though some needed a little help.

Within the castle walls, the 17th century church of Nossa Senhora da Alegria, resplendent with Moorish-styled tiles, and surrounded by the tumbling, spellbinding streets of the Juderia.  In the sleepy warmth below, the town was awakening to market day, the calls of the vendors noisily jostling for trade.  I slipped inside the main church, Santa Maria da Devasa, to pay my respects.  A lady, rummaging in her handbag, pulled out spectacles and a sheaf of music, and into the hush began to practise on the organ.  As I listened, smiling, another bustled in with two bags full of white lilies, which she placed beside the altar.  The life of the church, unchanging.

Outside the church, a modern sculpture, mother tenderly regarding small child.  And a fountain, one of 300 in the area, I’d been led to believe.  I came across several more.  In a quiet square, the Fonte da Vila, with four marble spouts, a coat of arms, and a tribute to Jewish victims.

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I was beginning to need a coffee, and hoped to sample boleima, a type of Jewish unleavened bread with apple and cinnamon.  Or something sweet.

The clock on the town hall chimed and it was time to move on.  Sadly my visit was coming to an end.  King Dom Pedro V described this town as the “Sintra of the Alentejo”, and I had felt something of the same magic.

As if sorry to see me go, the clouds began to swoop in across the hills.  I crossed the gardens, turning for one last look.

It’s a tenuous link, but here I am, back in the Algarve, looking at the lovely Serra de Sáo Mamede and its towns and villages, from a Distance.  Easter and Holy Week are very special and traditional in this part of the world.  I can’t conceive of it this year, but I hope that one day, in the future, I might cross that distance again.  Meantime, many thanks to Tina and the lovely Lens-Artists ladies for keeping us strong.

walking logo

Still sharing!  It’s what we do best here in blogland.  Stay safe out there!

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As heart warming a walk as I’ve ever taken.  Thank you so much, Drake!

Walks have to be started

It’s therapeutic getting out there in nature, as Alice will tell you :

The Blue Heron Nature Trail

And Eunice is still determined to enjoy beach and countryside :

Lytham/ St. Annes -a walk in two parts

Margaret sums it all up succinctly :

The Last Walk Before Lock Down

And Rupali smiles at us, from a distance :

Weekend 88 : Distance

I think we’re all agreed that Becky is a ‘Top Notch’ blogger.  It’s 1st April soon (no fooling!) :

Streets of Spitalfields

Happy to share a poetic stroll beneath the birch trees, with Jude :

The Birks of Aberfeldy

And I found a fascinating walking tour of Porto, for the future :

‘Other cities in the city’: a social history walking tour of Porto

While Cathy shares a good slice of the exotic :

Morocco: Aroumd to Imlil to Essaouira

Saving this treat for last.  Don’t miss Pauline’s lovely photography and wonderful artwork!

Day 2 of the birthday get away

It’s an amazing world out there, isn’t it?  I’m so glad we can share it together.

149 comments

  1. Loved the references to the Jewish heritage…so fascinated and putting on my long list of places to visit after this nightmare is over. Beautiful whimsical place…

  2. Fabulous walk, Jo. I had no idea there was another “Sintra” with a Jewish quarter. That will be a “must see” when we go back to Portugal. It’s shocking how quickly our lives have changed in the past few weeks, isn’t it? It’s hard to believe we were traveling freely and far fewer worries. Stay well and stay safe, Jo.

    1. Thanks, sweetheart! Yes, you soon start to feel the strain and the tension in others too. So many lives ‘on hold’, Patti, no matter how we look at it. Stay safe and well too! Sending hugs 🙂 🙂

  3. A long long time since I’ve walked with you my friend. And what a splendid walk to rejoin you for. The lines and shapes in that first photo are superb. I love the stone doors – and delight in seeing you captivated by dilapidation, or am I remembering wrongly? I seem to remember a discussion pitting elegance against decay in Łódż, long ago and far away. Will you be maintaining “Monday walks”? How will you shape them? I can contribute an over abundance of dawn skies: or a post on “Things left behind on the beach” – if I get round to blogging again. Low tide and a new delight in walking have coincided with daybreak – briefly. Daylight saving ends this weekend.

    1. Welcoming you back with open arms, Meg 🙂 🙂 I ‘announced’ a rest from the blog to regroup, but then the world regrouped around me and I found it hard to stay away. I guess this is my escape world. My comfortable space where I can be the me I want to be. Elegance does indeed always win over dilapidation for me, hon, but I can see the attraction, and old doorways in particular are very soulful. I still have a wardrobe semi-full of walks and as we’re out most days I can add to them, or improvise. I’m currently being diverted by Becky’s Squares, because she’s a lovely friend, but you know these things soon become a chore, and I get grumpy. 🙂 🙂 Enjoy your beach, sweetheart! Ours are currently mostly out of bounds. Sending hugs! 🙂 🙂

  4. Castelo de Vide so reminds me of the heritage villages in Colombia and the walled fortresses lining the Caribbean sea …but, of course, Portugal and Spain were exporting such architecture to the new world around the time when cities like this were built. Despite making me reminisce, it is the unique charms of Castelo de Vide showcased in your images that capture my heart the most. I am sorry you were not able to have a look inside the castle, but luckily there was so much eye candy within the walls to ease the disappointment. I’ve never heard of boleima, but it looks delicious. Glad that you got this visit in before the world turned upside down. Thank you for transporting me here today.

    1. We were very lucky indeed to make our escape when we did, Lisa. Marváo was the goal and I didn’t know much about this place but, as often happens, it was a wonderful surprise. Many thanks for following me here. 🙂 🙂

  5. A wonderful walk again, dearest Jo! So beautiful all the places…hopefully we will see them again soon. This year I hope at least. But I guess many of us are a bit low now – your post brightened my day, Jo! Stay safe and well – always ♥

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