How I went back in time: A medieval tale

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Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in medieval times? I have romantic ideas of isolated tiny towns on the hills surrounded by animals. A fun but quiet village life. Good food. Age-old traditions. And lots of beauty.

Monsanto village.jpg

Monsanto village is in Idanha-a-Nova on top of a very steep hill with a gorgeous mountainous view. Popularly known as, “The most Portuguese village in Portugal,” the houses are made of gray granite stones, and some are built on or in between boulders. It’s beautiful, and I am so glad I was there in the fall, and that our hotel had a great modern heating system!

I was immediately taken by this place because of the stones. It made me think of the megalithic stones that I am always in search of, only this was all about boulders and houses. I imagine that the boulders protected the houses from the wind, but I couldn’t figure out why anyone would build a village up on this high hill because it is so isolated. It must have been very difficult to get food and to deal with every day issues way back when.

Photo by Shauna Woolley

Photo by Shauna Woolley

I had the pleasure of traveling with a friend who is also a photographer, and as soon as we dropped off our things at the hotel, we climbed the hill to see the view, the boulders, and get our bearings of the village.

Photo by Marguerite Beaty

Photo by Marguerite Beaty

As I write this I am noticing that I am speaking more about the feeling of this place than writing about tips. When I entered the village, I felt like I was going back in time. The stone streets were empty. There were no other cars when we arrived. When we parked the car and got out all we could hear was a soft wind. There were gray stone houses with colorful doors and boulders. I even got a little vertigo because some of the houses looked like they might roll over if the boulders moved.

We went to Monsanto off-season and I’m so happy we did. It’s a popular place to visit and I read that it’s a challenge to go there in the summer. We had the town to ourselves.

Photo by Marguerite Beaty Restaurant with a view

Photo by Marguerite Beaty Restaurant with a view

We ate lunch and dinner at a restaurant that was built at the edge of town and had a large glass window so that we could appreciate the view – and feel like we were flying.

We only spent one night here and if you are traveling around the country that is more than enough. Monsanto would be a great place to bring your own entertainment like a bunch of paper and paints, your camera, and spend a few undistracted days creating peacefully. Surrounded by granite cliffs, this little, laid-back village has only a few coffee shops and restaurants – that’s it! It makes up for any lack of amenities with breath-taking views and fascinating history. Monsanto is a wonderful place to get away from it all for a few days, especially if you’re interested in the archaeological remains of the Lusitanian settlement and Roman occupation.

Fare thee well!

Marguerite

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Click hither for more info:

Historical information about Monsanto

Taverna Lusitana

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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