Last week we took a look at the town of Santiago do Cacém and its lovely castelo. With only a couple of nights away from home there was little time for putting our feet up so, having checked in to our hotel, it was hot foot to the Roman ruins of Miróbriga.
One kilometre north west of the town, it would have been an easy drive, but some people like to do things the hard way. When we finally arrived the site did not look too imposing, but the Romans seldom got it wrong so, bypassing the small museum, we set off to explore.
Wikipedia tells me that these Roman baths are among the best preserved in Portugal, and I do have a bit of a fondness for baths. The settlement here appears to date back to the Iron Age, the Romans occupying and extending the site from the second half of the 1st century.
I talked about mood the other day, and how some places affect you more than others. Although this is a sizeable site, with very visible paved Roman roads and the remnants of many shops and residences, it didn’t whisper to me as these places sometimes do. It shouldn’t have been hard to picture a toga-less Roman or two lolling at their ablutions, discussing politics and which wench they had an eye for. But somehow I couldn’t tune in to the gossip, as I might have done at beautiful Ammaia, near Marvão.
Information boards were plentiful and specific, giving details of the hypocaust system which heated the floor of the baths. To the east of these is a small, single arch bridge which leads to the forum and temples. It was here, if anywhere, that I felt the weight of history, crumbling in the cracks and uneven surfaces of the crazed paving slabs.
There were not many other visitors this late in the day, and it was easy to slip into the lodging house to examine the remains of ancient wall paintings, and finally to the elevated position of the forum and Imperial temple.
I gazed in vain for the Hippodrome, the only one in Portugal whose entire ground plan is known. It was left to me to imagine the thunder of chariots, echoing in the silent Alentejo countryside.
Can you believe that in all this long day not a morsel of cake had passed our lips? Where’s the justice, I hear you cry! Where’s the cake?
A small café looked across to the ruins and we rested our weary legs there, listening to a couple of locals discuss their day. Pickings were slim, as we might have been, because it wasn’t easy to find a restaurant to accommodate us that evening. So, I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep you dangling till next week, when Michael finally gets his chocolate cake. But I can leave you with a fine windmill and a heap of cork, observed on our walk back to the hotel.
Thanks everyone, for keeping me company. Time to share a few walks. I shall have one last for you, from the Alentejo, next week. Feel free to join me there, on Jo’s Monday walk.
Fishing quotas can have disastrous effects, but they take Eunice on a really interesting walk :
Go adventuring with Alice!
Janet is home from the Wyoming she loves. Lots of choices to share :
Which path will you choose? Yvette would like to know :
Wondering how Drake’s feeling this week?
A walk through a very sad period in history, with Denzil :
Sharing the beauty of this world, with Rupali :
And finally, blow a few cobwebs away as we tramp across the Moors with Margaret :
Take care, all! It’s a funny old world out there, isn’t it?