Not long after arriving, an old lady came up to the van. This is a bit unusual, so we assumed she might be coming to advise us that we shouldn’t be parking here. Actually she wanted to sell us some lemons. With a bit of gesticulation, and assuming the two fingers she was holding up wasn’t her impolitely telling us to go away, we gathered the cost was two Euros. The surprise was that she gave us the entire bag full, approximately 14 of them.
Anyway, despite being in the village square, it was another uninterrupted night’s sleep. I had an extra long conference call in the morning, whilst Sophie made a lemon cake. Then an old man came and sold us a bag of oranges for €1.50. If we’d tried them we would have bought many more, but we didn’t find out until later in the day.
Relva is the staging post for Monsanto, a mountain-top village that’s very popular with the tourists. The walk up would take 40 minutes, but cars and the odd motorhome seemed to be going up, so we thought we’d give it a go. The map showed a carpark after all. We actually parked roadside up there with no problem.
It was still quite a steep walk into and up through the village. At the top you could carry on further to the castle, but I was keen to leave my exercise there. Sophie, out of character, wanted to keep on going, so up we went. The views were great. The route down was the usual walk along every backstreet with reassurances that Sophie had seen every possible place, and please can we go now.
On the way back down we popped into Relva to top up our water, then next target was Penamacor. This was a larger hilltop town, and once parked up and having done a little research, we decided to save our energy for another town instead.
After popping into a bizarre riverside area with facilities, which felt more like a hippie commune, we aimed for the small hill village of Sortelha. I’d been tempted by the elevated parking near the the castle and with great views of the village and surrounding hills, and more of those remarkably large and seemingly out of proportion boulders.
It was a steep, but very doable route up and here we are and looking forward to a night completely away from it all and the “unlikelihood” of neighbours.