Portugal
Reguengos de Monsaraz Municipality

Here you’ll find travel reports about Reguengos de Monsaraz Municipality. Discover travel destinations in Portugal of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

8 travelers at this place:

  • Day27

    The Best Cycling Day So Far

    October 14 in Portugal

    Our brief time in Reguengoz de Monsaraz proved to be quite eventful. As we rode into the town we soon discovered that the council had been very busy destroying all of the footpaths and most of the roads. I suspect that they might eventually get around to putting them back again, but in the meantime anyone walking around the town has to navigate past piles of dirt and slabs of concrete.

    We had an enjoyable dinner at a local restaurant where the owner spent most of his time and his limited vocabulary in telling us what a fantastic bloke he was. To emphasize the point he had decorated the dining room with large photos and drawings of himself. To be fair, the food was pretty good.

    I had not been long in bed when a mighty storm broke overhead, complete with rolling thunder, lightning and heavy rain. My main concern was over whether it would be still pouring down in the morning. In spite of the rain I did eventually fall asleep, only to be awoken when the room was brightly illuminated. At first I thought it might have been a police raid because I had not shown my passport when checking into the hotel, however it turned out to be the automatic emergency lighting. There had obviously been a power blackout and there was no way to turn off the emergency lights. It was like trying to fall asleep under a searchlight.

    In the morning I awoke to find the rain stopped. It was not the only thing that had stopped – the internet had also stopped working and no one seemed to know how to turn it off and on again to get it working again. The television at least, was still working and the lead story was of how Portugal had been hit by one of the worst storms in history. Winds of up to 170 kph had destroyed much of the trees of Lisbon and the north of the country had suffered huge damage. That was the region we had been in just 4 days earlier, so we counted our blessings that our hardships had been relatively minor by comparison.

    It was about this time that I witnessed one of the most amazing sights of my lifetime. While I was sitting in my room, gazing at the screen of my notebook computer, I heard a rustling noise close by. I glanced across to see that Helen was actually climbing in through my open window. At first I thought it was some sort of joke, but realized that she was intent on climbing the whole way in. It took a while for my addled brain to click into gear and the only thing I could think of to say was “What the hell are you doing?”. From the startled look on her face it was obvious that she had been sleepwalking and had regressed to her previous life as a cat burglar. She immediately climbed back out again, the same way she had entered and I was left wandering whether I had imagined the entire episode. An alternative explanation might have something to do with the fact that her room was right next to mine and she just made an honest mistake, but I will leave it up to the readers to make up their own minds.

    By the time we were ready to start riding we got the message that Jorge was running late and was still 30 minutes away. Allan used the time to discover that his key would not open his bike lock and hoped that Jorge had an angle grinder in the van. We eventually managed to cut through the lock with a pair of pliers and a lot of elbow grease.

    At least the overnight storm had lowered the temperature to a much more comfortable level. This made our early cycling absolutely delightful. We even had the assistance of a lovely tail wind. The combination of lovely smooth bitumen, cool weather and helpful wind surely made for the best riding of our trip so far. We even managed to hold the peloton together. Well that last sentence is not perfectly correct. When we stopped for our first rest break we found that three riders were missing. Since we had been riding at a very sensible (modest) pace we could not understand how that could have happened. A phone call revealed that they had gotten rather muddled and had headed back in the same direction we had arrived from the previous afternoon. They had thus succeeded in riding about 3 km in the opposite direction to the rest of us. Old age really is a bummer sometimes.

    With the group all reunited we were able to make good, cohesive progress with everyone obviously enjoying the picturesque surroundings and the great road. For the first time since the ride started, it really could be accurately described as “flat”. The only problem was that we all knew that the ride was going to have a mountain top finish.

    The fortified village of Monsaraz can be clearly seen from many kilometres away and we could all see that it was going to be a serious challenge to get to the summit. The road kicked up to around 5% at the base of the climb and must have been over 10% on the tight corners. Riders sought ever lower gears as they slowly made their way up the mountain. It certainly was a help that the temperature was cool and the wind was still mostly on our backs. I am sure that our riders were justifiably all proud of their efforts when we finally reached the town entrance and were able to enjoy the panoramic views in all directions.

    The landscape was dominated by the massive Alqueva Dam Reservoir, the largest artificial lake in Europe. The white city inside the city walls was easily the prettiest town we had seen thus far and the lunch we enjoyed at an old olive mill was equally as impressive.

    The final attraction was the magnificent Hotel Rural Horta da Moura we had been booked in for the night. The only way I could describe this place is SUPERB. I think we could have happily stayed here for a week.
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  • Day26

    Heat, Hills and Headwinds

    October 13 in Portugal

    A word of explanation - before I start today's blog I thought it might be a good idea to explain what the main reason for the blog actually is. The simple truth is that, if I do not record the day's events soon after they are completed, I very quickly forget what I actually did. The main point of the blog is simply to record my own experiences before they disappear completely. The blog is usually written late in the day and is just a compilation of what I remember of the previous few hours. I know that there are often spelling mistakes and omissions, but that is representative of my state of mind when I am putting in down. In the past I have sometimes used the blog to produce a hard cover book for myself to keep as a souvenir of the trip. I may do the same again.

    So much for the preamble, now for the blog....

    The lot of the touring cyclist is not an easy one. Not only do w e have to regularly contend trials and tribulations such as punctures, aggressive dogs, hail storms and saggy lycra, we also have the three most formidable adversaries of all. These are sometimes known as the "Three Horrible Aitches" - Hills, Heat and Headwinds. Any one of these can be sufficient to take all enjoyment from a pleasant ride, but when you score the perfect trifecta, you know you are in for a battle.

    The day started pleasantly enough. When I came down for breakfast at 7.00 am I was expecting another repeat of the ugly scenes of the previous morning. The thought of contending with another hundred or so hungry bus travellers all jostling for the sole remaining portion of scrambled eggs would have been enough to make me cry. Not to mention the problem of the non existent cutlery and the ill tempered waitress.

    In fact the situation could not have been more different. There were only a small number of people there and everything was perfectly civil and orderly. I not only got my scrambled eggs, but was able to get a knife and fork as well. I did not even have to fight for a slice of raisin bread. It was only when I was about to get a glass of orange juice that I received a tap on my shoulder. I immediately thought I must have queued from the wrong direction and was about to receive a torrent of abuse, but standing before me was a short American lady who obviously had something on her mind.

    "Why are you called the Ghostriders ?" she asked.

    I was sorely tempted to make up some tale about us being the most feared cycling group south of the equator, however I took a few minutes to explain the real story. She even seemed interested, until her jealous husband over and called her away.

    The trip notes had promised another "easy day" of about 50 km. That sounded like a bit of a walk in the park, however once again the notes were completely wrong. This is definitely NOT flat countryside and we have now learned why no one in Portugal rides a bike. No one. The region is actually full of nasty little (and not so little) hills and we managed to ride up every one of the them (some of them twice).

    The ride began with a visit to the 450 year old university that was inside the Evora city walls. Not only does this institution have a history almost dating back to Adam and Eve, but the students still wear the formal uniform of a black suit and academic gown. It certainly was steeped with history.

    Jorge then explained that he wanted to take us to a "leather factory". I immediately recalled numerous previous incidents of visits to so called factories which turned out to be nothing other than an ambush to take money from tourists. He also could have told us that the factory was at the top of a huge hill. In fact everything in this place is at the top of a hill.

    With much panting and sweating we reached the factory and could see that its finest days were well behind it. The ancient place was full of rusty old machines, cobwebs and foul odours. When I looked up I saw a crumbling asbestos roof that was probably dropping huge flakes right on top of our heads. Huge piles of hides were stacked to the ceiling.

    Jorge went on to explain that the place used to have 16 employees, but only 2 remained. I assumed that the rest had been dragged into the unprotected machines or died of asbestosis. The last two people standing were a father and son team who apparently ran the entire production by themselves. I had to admit that were both very friendly and had lovely smiles.

    At the end of the tour we might have bought something if all the goods were not about 7 sizes too small for even the tiniest of us. They were obviously expecting an influx of dwarfs who would all need leather jackets.

    The next stop was lunch in a local cafe. We had to enter by going behind the counter, down a steep narrow staircase, through a secret doorway and finally found ourselves sitting at a large table in a very small room. The food itself was excellent and the staff were very friendly and eager to please.

    When we left the heat was beginning to build up again. There was also something else building up. Ever since we had arrived in Europe we had hardly ever had any hint of wind, but today it finally arrived. It would have been welcome if it had blown right in our faces for the rest of the day.

    We then spent the next few hours grinding our way up an endless succession of hills and fighting the head wind at the same time. The only thing we could be thankful for was the fact that there were no dirt roads. The entire ride was on bitumen, which certainly was a relief.

    As I neared the final roadside stop I was conscious of the fact that my nether regions were becoming very uncomfortable. I tried lifting myself out of the saddle to gain some temporary relief. It helped for a few seconds, but I was very happy to finally pull up alongside the van and climb from the bike.

    To my surprise the main topic of conversation among the riders was how sore each of their bums were. In fact it was the very first thing that every rider said when they pulled over. The peloton had obviously fallen victim to some sort of mass saddle soreness. It was a strange phenomenon indeed.

    Fortunately we only had a few kilometres left to go. Jorge had organised another wine tasting for late in the afternoon, but I told him that I had absolutely no interest and would rather head straight to the hotel instead. About half of the riders also decided to join me, while the others headed to the nearby winery.

    Although the GPS stated that the ride had finished at about 52 km, the combination of numerous hills and the continual headwind certainly made it feel much further.
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  • Day3

    Monsaraz - Portugals vackraste by?

    September 25 in Portugal

    Monsaraz ligger på gränsen till Spanien, en liten by med 782 invånare. Undrar var de var nånstans? Vi såg bara 10 av dem. Mysig liten by var det i alla fall, kringgärdad av försvarsmurar från 1200-talet och med fin utsikt över Europas största konstgjorda sjö, Alqueva. Gränsen mellan Portugal och Spanien går mitt i sjön.
    Sedan vinprovning på Esporao, en av Portugals största vinproducenter. En mindre del av de mer exklusiva vinerna framställs på gammaldags sätt för att bevara traditionerna. Bl.a. fottrampas druvorna i stora marmorkar.
    Varmt var det även idag, +36°, vinkällaren var ett bra ställe att vara på 😎.
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  • Day32

    Still roasting, so having left Lisbon we decided to try and find some water and found this great place with a beach by a lake. Water is beautifully warm and the perfect way to cool off

  • Day14

    biking to castle

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal

    Next we biked up a short (1mile) but very very steep road to an small village and ancient castle on the top of a hill. Good thing I had an electric bike! I was able to power up the hill without too much effort.

    The road up had great views of the largest artificial lake in Europe. It was dammed and created about 15 years ago. Great for irrigation and for electric power production, but evidently it has changed the local climate making it more humid and the temperature less variable through the year.Read more

  • Day14

    pottery village

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal

    Our first stop on our second day bike tour is a little village known for their clay, and therefore their pottery. After all the stuff we bought yesterday, we have no room in our luggage for more souvenirs, especially heavy fragile ones, so all we did was look, even though things were very tempting to buy!

    We wandered around a family run pottery business. Generations of men worked the clay and generations of women painted the pottery.

    The kiln, and the giant rack that rolled into it, were huge!
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  • Day14

    the Love Rock

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal

    Our next stop was a megalithic monument that is known locally as the Love Rock. The young single women of the village come here on the first Monday of the Easter season (first Monday of Lent? First Monday after Easter?) and they try to toss a rock over their back (left hand only!) and if the rock lands and stays on the top of the monument, you will be married within the year. You only get three chances!

    Our guide, Maria, who is a local, showed us how it was done. Russell tried, but was not quite successful, which shows how hard it is.
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  • Day14

    cows and egrets with watermelon

    November 2, 2016 in Portugal

    As we were biking, we passed a field of watermelons that must have spoiled before harvest, so they just left them in the field and let a herd of cows in. Evidently, egrets follow cows around here. So it was a very pastoral scene and Russell was entranced. He said later it was the coolest thing he saw all day.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Reguengos de Monsaraz, Reguengos de Monsaraz Municipality

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