Castelo de Palmela


View from the castle

View from the castle

October 4, 2008

 

A dull headache.  The angled Autumn sun still shines bright.  The air is dry and I just heard the squeal of a bat.  I’m perched in a stone window cutout on the upper deck of an 800 year old castle. Views of the Sado River spilling out into the Atlantic lay in the distance.  One of the best stretches of beach on this continent is within 10 km.  Troia, Comporta, and the peninsula of Setúbal.

Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Lisbon, getting here proved to be more of a challenge than one would assume.  After deboarding the train at the Palmela station to find no transport and  very desolate surroundings. “Buses here?  On Saturday.  None,” commented the only human we found inside the station. So we walked 15 minutes up to the main road connecting Setúbal to Palmela.  

Walking up to the main road, my nose was bombarded with the scent of dry pine- needles scattered and crackling on the ground as I passed over them.  Memories of Grandma’s house on Victoria flooded my head. Whenever you dared go barefoot in the house those pine needles threatened to prick your naked feet, without fail, every time, hidden in her marbled colored carpet.  

Post meal

 

Once on the main road, we found our bus options limited.  Not for another hour would one come by.  After a sincere but failed attempt to hitch a ride-my red top and happy thumb didn’t do us any good, we resorted to a taxi which brought us the 7 minutes up to Palmela, climbing the castle road and depositing us atop it.

At 2:30 p.m. in Portugal you know your window of time to get a hot meal for lunch is quickly diminishing. Come 3:00 p.m. it’s sandes e sopa only.  We descended the historic center, cobble-stoned and windy, to find a few restaurants from which to choose.  Minutes before surrendering to the tosta de queijo standby as our stomachs growled, we came upon a humble homemade kind- of- place, where Mundo ate cow intestines (tripa) with white beans and I settled for just the beans (the waitress kindly picked the tripa out before serving it to me).  You fill yourself on that lovely Alentejo goat/sheep cheese first of course, then wash down your fullness with a pungent shot of espresso at meal’s end.  Sixteen euros for two. I opted not to have dessert remembering we still had to walk back up the hill to actually visit the castle.

 

800 years of history

And here I am. Perched up here in this stone cutout.   It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten out of LX.  Feels good.

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~ by maureenmoore on October 28, 2008.

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