Just occasionally a walk throws up a delightful surprise. We’d done the walk around Mesquita a time or two before. Often enough to know of the well, hidden among the long grasses, and of the windmills at the summit of the hill. It was a beautiful day and we took our time, chatting and catching up with each other’s lives as we went along.
The Moinho do Bengado stands proudly on the top of the hill, catching the breeze, as windmills do. No sooner had we reached it than a jeep pulled into the open space behind us. We hadn’t expected company, but were happy to share the beautiful old windmill. We were even happier when we realised that the newcomer had a key, and had come to show us the workings of the mill. Raymond Hilbers was a miller by trade in his native Holland. With an enduring interest in all things mechanical, he built a home in the Algarve 20 years ago, close by the windmill. In the interim years he became involved in the restoration of the mill and, with justifiable pride, he explained its workings to us.
Built in stone, in 1850, the windmill is of the Mediterranean type. It’s a halter mill, the oldest form of traction system, using rope and millstones to rotate the roof. I really hadn’t given much thought to how these things work, but was genuinely interested in the explanations. I won’t spoil it for you by giving away too many of the details. You might just find yourself there one day? The mill now opens to visitors twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Access is from the EN270, 4 km south of São Brás de Alportel, and arrangements can be made via the tourist office on firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s a downloadable map, here.
Mr. Hilbers is a very charming man, and was happy to spend time with us. A former sailor amongst us remarked on the new addition of sails to the mill, since our last visit (pictured above). The millstone is currently lodged in one position and must be freed to enable the sails to one day turn. What a wonderful sight that will be! Just one thing I should add. Space inside the mill is obviously confined, and there are narrow circular steps to the upper level. Not suited to everyone, but please don’t let that put you off a visit to this beautiful old mill.
We continued on our way, back down the hill, and up several more, in the way of walkers. The area around São Brás is cork oak territory and there were many lovely specimens on view. Beautiful villas grace these hills too, which would account for the large school, with its reminder of the times we live in. And I’m always smitten by poppies.
I really can’t leave a miller without at least one image of cake, now can I? This chocolate cheesecake was very delicious. Maybe one day there’ll be a little shop/cum café to sell the produce from the mill.
I realise my walk posts are a little erratic at present, but I really couldn’t wait to share this one. I hope you enjoyed it. Please find time to visit my fellow walkers this week. Happy to share on Jo’s Monday walk.
There are people you could just hug, aren’t there? Well, if it was allowed I would, Jude :
Meg has found signs of Spring too :
Anyone know Sleningford? Margaret does!
What else would you expect from Janet?
Might as well finish that walk with Mel. Wish the titles were shorter, though 🙂
Sarah has some snappy friends waiting for us on this week’s walk. Fabulous wildlife!
Happy to have Terri join me from her new neighbourhood :
But there are some places you don’t mind being taken back to. Thanks, Drake!
There’s always something beautiful to see when Jesh is around :
And Lady Lee just likes to have fun :
Just because we can, let’s go bluebell hopping, with Emma :
And finally, lovely Teresa shares her Mother’s Day with us :
Thanks for your company, everyone. Have a great week! And I’m adding my miller to Just One Person from around the World.