Mata de Bucaco, walled forest robbed from the monks







We’re here: N40.37516 W8.35857

Weather: we think it may be sunny but we’re 500m up a hill which is covered in mist, so we’re not sure.

Despite parking next to the equivalent of the M1 motorway, we slept like logs last night. At least I did. Ju was woken by the binmen at 1am. It must have been the hearty meal Jacqui cooked us. Or maybe the wine.

As soon as I realised it wasn’t raining, I got up and cleaned the van windows and rear bumper. Time to stick on our new decals! It was a fun experience, the ‘semi sticky’ membrane made it easy to get all the letters on perfectly aligned (coupled with Ju’s patience for such things). I’m interested to see what affect they have (OK, I’m childishly excited). Of course, there might be negatives of people being able to identify us, and tell where we are. On the other hand, there may be some unexpected positive effects, let’s see. We had a laugh talking about selling OurTour merchandise and Jay and Ju action figures!

We’ve driven an hour or so inland, passing two sets of armed police, both appearing to be stopping speeding cars. One even had a credit card reader; easy to guess their intent. Almost all of the time I have no idea what the speed limit is by the way. A 50kph sign will appear before a built up area, then no other signs until the next 50kph sign miles later. Huh?

We are at a small walled forest called Mata de Bucaco. It used to be inhabited by monks, who planted the forest with a variety of trees, and built lots of small churches to contemplate god in. At some point in history the Royal family booted them out and now it appears the state owns it, as much of it is crumbling away.

One thing not crumbling is the 5 star hotel in the middle. It’s a sight to see, decorated (blinged to the max) with carved stone and blue and white tiles. I found the 8 foot tall angel stomping on a devil while wielding a sword the most impressive. Apparently it’s baroque, which means ‘blinged up’ as far as I can tell, although wikipedia uses far more words to define this artistic style and period.

We’ve wandered the forest, tired Charlie out chasing sticks, climbed to a great (but misty) viewpoint and now returned to Dave. Marc and Jacqui have pulled in alongside us in the otherwise empty car park. We’re looking out over the forested hills below, and we’re all feeling the cold up here. Heating on later I think.

Ju and I have been talking about what we want from our trip and have decided we need to spend less time worrying about money. Our daily €38 cost is great in a way, but means we’re probably missing things we’ll never get the chance to do again. A concerted effort is called for to be less tight.

Cheers, Jay


  1. Watch those speed limit signs in Portugal! They have minimum speed limits as well as max. Different colours. But you can be done for going too slowly as well as for speeding. More likely in Dave, I would have thought! ;-)

    • Really? Hmmm, we do cruise along at a maximum of 80kph, although we’re avoiding the motorways as Portugal’s gone and created some crazy toll system which we really can’t be bothered with. We’ve found a place to stay that has free WiFi, so I’ll have a looksee about the speed limits. Thanks for the pointer! Jay

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