In 2017, I have spent nigh one whole month in the Marvao area, Alentejo, Portugal and I look forward to my hopeful return in Spring.
What attracts me to this particular area? Well, largely due to my last holiday in the Lake District, September, 2016. It was one of those seminal moments when I realised that although I love clambering over mountains even in really poor weather, my photographic opportunities were few and far between. On this holiday the weather was the worst the Lake District could throw at me and I still managed to do Helvellyn and the Wainwright “Superman” walk. I came to a point that I just had enough of the dark and bad weather in the UK and the almost futile chasing of that all too brief light.
Over the past few years when my wife visited her parents in Portugal I would go galavanting over mountains. Free and unencumbered I could hike and photograph to my hearts content. It is a rewarding, cathartic and highly therapeutic endeavour.
This time, however, when my wife asked me if I wanted to go to Portugal with her, I think my positive answer genuinely surprised her.
She would talk excitedly about beautiful Marvao, and dinner at Jorge’s and her iPhone photos of beautiful open blue skies combined with my had-a-gutful-of-British-bad-weatherness firmly tipped the balance in favour of Portugal for my annual holiday.
The Marvao area of the Alentejo near the Spanish border is a wonderful palette of texture and light. The landscape is strewn with huge granite monoliths, twisted cork oaks, twisting roads and dilapidated farms and homesteads that are so rich in texture. This ancient and historical landscape bathes beneath an oft clear blue sky. The most brilliant azure.
I could spend many happy hours walking around the hill-top fortresses of Marvao and Castelo de Vide. The narrow, tall cobbled streets are a labyrinth of endless adventure punctuated at regular interval with coffee shops. From the towers stunning views are to be had in all directions, with vistas into Spain or deep into the Alentejo in excess of 50km.
One of the many highlights of our trip and the title of this post, a restaurant that goes by the name of Sabores de Marvao, the flavours of Marvao. A wonderful restaurant run by Jorge and his family. Here the food is excellent. Just how I like it, uncomplicated and totally delicious, washed down with a house red and all finished with a bica. All wonderful and highly recommended.
I really look forward to returning and especially doing a better job of the photography. A few pix of the trip, my highlights, and more to be found here https://www.themountainphotographer.net/portugal/