Favorite thing: When we left Castelo Branco in the morning, we initially headed north a short distance on the very good IP2 super-highway before we began taking sideroads to the east. We then turned off to the northeast, going cross-country to reach the N233 which took us past Lousa, after which we then turned directly east onto some very scenic and pastoral back roads. We took a loop around a lake, Barragem da Idanha, passing by the small village of Idanha-a-Nova before reaching the turnoff for Monsanto, which is only about 30 km from the Spanish border. Altogether, a very pleasant drive through very green countryside!
No, these chickens weren't squashed, but they didn't have an awful lot of room. With all the rocks scattered about in Monsanto, the local villagers have had to be very creative in their use of space as there isn't much available.
The villagers owning this hen coop have put up a bit of chicken wire and used the space under one of the ball shaped rocks to keep their chickens in. I guess being such a small village crime is not a problem, as these chickens were right on the side of a pedestrianised street.
In Spring time, the trees in Monsanto have a lot of very colourful blossom on them. When you juxtapose this against the red roof tiles that every house in Monsanto has, you get some very beautiful images.
As Monsanto is on a slope, you can keep climbing up, and get more and more views at different angles and heights, making it very easy to get just the picture you want, provided you are happy to put in a bit of foot work!
For the best views however make sure you climb up to the castle.
Favorite thing: between the north and south of Portugal. Standing above them on a high crag (760 m), to the left of the road leading to Monfortinho, is the historical village of Monsanto with it's 150 inhabitants living between the long and tough winter and the tourists bringing to the narrow paths of the village a lot of movement and colour of this "santified" land.
Favorite thing: the most portuguese village in portugal as, for propaganda reasons, the 1974's sat down political regime classified this wonderfull MONSANTO. no reasons for nowadays we disregard such title. obviously we have to agree with that. and if yu go there yu'll know why.
one of the paths, climb up to the castle with one of the most breathtaking views of the whole region. history regarding,
the knights, who gave their lives in the christian reconquest were buried in tombs carved out of the rocks of the castle, and a feature to admire if you go up the hill.
Walking around the village you will see how the people of the village have lived for years and years.
Fondest memory: The traditions have not changed much here and you will see the love of the town in the locals eyes.
As you can see this village does have electricty but I must say it looked strange to see a light post in the middle of this area. It just did not look right.
There is a good blend of old and new but I do think the loacls like the old more than the new.
Favorite thing: A high point, just about anywhere in Monsanto, will give you views "down" into the village, its streets, its rooftops, or even into the surrounding valleys...no matter where though you have a varied landscape or roofscape to enjoy.
Favorite thing: It's a difficult compromise, to preserve the traditional look of the villages, and to give locals some comfort. Nowhere I noticed a so remarkable presence id electric wires and TV antennas as in Monsanto. Couldn't be otherwise?
I have attached the "mountain climbing" activity to Monsanto because anyone who cannot climb a small mountain should not attempt Monsanto. It seems as if every street is competing with its neighbours as "the steepest".
Fondest memory: The vistas from the lookout and the blending of the stone homes within the surrounding nature.
As mentioned in the introduction, the streets of Monsanto are STEEP, you will find that even if you are in good shape that you will exert yourself here. Remember to bring water or stop in at one of the restaurants to keep hydrated.
Fondest memory: The small twisting and winding streets of Monsanto bring to mind the maze of the Minotaur, but here you can't get lost because if you do, just go down...
You can and will find small pools of cooler shade, some from small trees apparently sprouting out of pure stone, or from some of the house sized boulders themselves.
Favorite thing: For some reason I enjoy both looking at and photographing the red tiled rooftops of village or town...especially when the streets are crazy like here in Monsanto, no two go in the same direction which creates a mosaic pattern of rooftops that is wonderful
A few of the things seen around the streets of Monsanto, like the "Gruta" or grotto where Zohara is waiting at the entrance for me. It was pitch black inside even though there was a sign as you can see above the entrance portal. The only time I saw what I was photographing was when I saw the photo at home.
Then we have Zohara standing in one of the main intersections of main pathways, no cars can get this high up in Monsanto.
Fondest memory: As always, the views over the village rooftops.
Favorite thing: The beautiful blending in of the stone houses here on the Monsanto mountain with the surrounding boulders is fantastic. Seldom have I seen this blend done so well. I have to ask myself if it is intentional, and I believe it is not, just a "natural" way to build when you take your building material from the same place you are building on.