Travelling North we had left the heavy rains of Spain and Portugal's Algarve behind us. With no hurry to our journey, we passed along the many small and winding roads enjoying the scenery.
Close to Castro Verde, this little church sits on the top of a hill with its grizzly history.
It commemorates the Battle of Ourique, on the 25th of July 1139.
Outside the church is a mural depicting the battle.
Stunning wildflowers carpeted the countryside.
Corn Buntings adorned fenceposts.
We passed through small villages and towns taking on supplies, here in Portel an excellent baker, the Pastel de nata were superb!
In Alter do Chão we had been sitting in the shade enjoying the coffee, before our visit to the
Alta Real Stud.
This wonderful stud, is the birthplace of the Alter-Real Lusitano breed of horses,
which have been bred here since its foundation in 1748 by King João V.
We enjoyed watching a training session, where some young stallions were put through their paces, before a full tour of the Stud.
For Linda, this was to be the highlight of our trip through Portugal, as she has a special love of the Lusitano and Spanish Andalusian breeds.
The thirty or so stallions are housed in this magnificent old building,
that echoes to their snorting testosterone.
In an altogether more tranquil setting the sixty breeding mares and their foals rest,
on deep straw, away from the heat of the day.
They are turned out to roam on the fields at night, to enjoy the grass and the freedom.
There is also an interesting carriage museum, housing many different types of carriages.
We enjoyed an amazing afternoon here among those beautiful horses and hope to return,
perhaps to the annual auction held on or around 24th April.
The road through the Serra de São Mamede became a little testing!
Almond blossoms lined the many small roads we explored, twisting over the countryside.
A local fisherman unloads his catch of freshwater fish, below the castle at Juromenha,
on the Rio Guadiana.
Most of the catch had been Carp and Zander.
Further up river House Martin's are busy nest building, beaks full of the wet mud.
This old bridge a great nesting site for the House and Crag Martins.
Mimosa with its delicate fern-like leafs blooming yellow all around us.
Also bright yellow the male Siskins, busy looking for mates.