Saturday, 20 February 2016

Spain 2016 - Castro Marim Castle

When we had been to the market at Castro Marim last week, I had been interested in the 2 castles above the village. From the internet (what did we ever do without it - up to date guidebooks, I guess) we learned that the oldest one is open to the public and the "newer" one, not always.
We parked where the market had been and Mum, Nicky and I followed these signs through the narrow streets.
Then there is a rough road and wooden stairs up to the castle entrance.
Looking down at the parking lot full of caravans from all over the UK and Northern Europe, European "snowbirds".
Across the village to the other fortification.
The building in the foreground is where we bought our tickets (E1.10) and then there is a chapel but it had nothing in it.
There is very little in the way of signage and most of the area inside the walls is set up ready for the medieval fair that is held here during the summer. There is a small museum area (where the washrooms are) with artifacts found here from as far back as the iron age and evidence of Roman, Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Arab occupation.  Wars with the Moors and Castelians resulted in the castle being added to and improved primarily in the 1200s. Really the high point of the visit is being able to walk around the castle walls and look at the views in all directions.
Mum in the stocks.
The Guardiana Bridge with a huge pile of salt in front.
Salt flats, olive groves and in the distance, windmills.
A ruined building in the centre and poles erected for the medieval fair. There was an earthquake in 1755 that ruined many buildings  and Portugal has not been able to reconstruct a lot of the archaeological sites.
There is evidence of ongoing excavation and restoration.

One of the almond trees in blossom inside the castle walls.
The dome of the village church.

The church clock, through an orange tree in the village square.
We walked back down to find Dad and have coffee in the village square.
OK, it was coffee and wine.
Its a pretty square (although not square shaped) with the church at one end, town hall on one side and this cafe.
Mum "doing a Heather" (my niece likes to pose)
Castle wall and church at the far end of the village square.
Stork sculpture beside the cafe.
Real storks nesting on the chimney of the grocery store near the parking lot.

We drove home, starving as it was about 3, and had a quickly made lunch of gazpacho (from a carton) and bread and cheese. Then Nicky and I headed down to the beach to read as it was sunny and quite warm.
Not warm enough for shorts but warm enough for sandals.
Then we joined Mum and Dad on the deck of the Sonrisa beach bar before heading back to the apartment.

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