Castelo de Soutomaior, Spain and Ponte de Lima, the first stop in Portugal!

We spotted the castle visit on one of our research sites and as it was almost on our route, we did this as a driveby on the way into Portugal.

The castle is awesome – we had seen couple of photos but we ‘knew’ that with an entry price of 2€ that it would not be great.  Wrong again – the castle is part of a hotel and conferencing complex and is in excellent preservation. We spent three hours exploring the castle and grounds and although the conferencing suite was in use, the castle and grounds were almost deserted.

We also collected some huge chestnuts from the gardens (boiled them and had them for breakfast the next morning).

Late lunch in the Mothership in the castle grounds and back on the road for our trip into Portugal and Ponte de Lima.

The drive into Portugal was really interesting: as we came down through the hills, the first thing we noticed was all the bonfires.  No idea why there are so many and none in Spain – perhaps different laws regarding wildfires, but that first Portugal afternoon, and every day since, we have noticed lots of fires – towns, countryside – everywhere! Odd!

First impressions of Ponte de Lima were stunning – it’s a small town set on a wide river with a roman era stone bridge.  Fan-blimmin tastic. The camping stop was next to the river right in the middle of town. No facilities, but great location! We did a few KM walking the town in the evening and there are a couple of wide tree lined promenades by the river including musical lamp posts.  Yes, they pump a local broadcast from the lamp posts – it’s very neat!

Pizza in the van for dinner and a Denzel Washington film from hard disc.  A great first afternoon in Portugal.

The next day we did 30 km by the river with bread and cheese for lunch and back to mothership mid afternoon and set off for Porto.