In Serra da Portela da Oliveira is the Vitorino Nemésio windmill which has been converted into a museum of windmills. The small museum is divided into six thematic rooms showing everything that a lay person cares to know about this fascinating structure. The first room shows how milling evolved from primitive ways of doing it, which were entirely by hand, and slowly developed into use of very basic tools such as the use of wooden poles. The next rooms showed the transition into more mechanical means to harness the power of the wind, and also water, in the few examples of water mill wheels shown.
It was intriguing to see the range of types of windmills that were and are still in use here in Portugal. (There are also some photos and miniatures of those found in other places, esp. Holland) It was fascinating to know that the windmill is a simple, beautiful structure whose every part serves a function, and whose variation in design evolved not out of any aesthetic consideration as those who are more romantic of views, following Don Quixote, are wont to think, but as a solution to the limitations at the same time a reinforcement of the resources available at the place and time where it was in use.
We enjoyed very much our tour of the museum, and even more because of the very knowledgeable caretaker and guide who took pains to explain the mechanisms involved, tried to answer our every question, and recommended places worth visiting in the area which are way out of the tourist beat.
In the grounds near the museum are a picnic area and a cafe. The panoramic views of the mountain ranges and the valleys all around are fantastic, and one can see even as far as Serra de Estrella.