We arrive at O Pátio da Oliveira, in Mourão, at twelve o’clock, having left Feria at the same time
It’s ninety kilometers, more or less, but the Portuguese follow GMT
Enough time during the day to eat, visit Monsaraz and Mourão and swim in the reservoir between the two

Mourão is enigmatic; unusual but familiar at the same time
Ten minutes past the border it’s noticeably Portuguese; the pretty mosaic pavements and towering chimneys

O Pátio da Oliveira is on the east side of Praça da Republica
The square’s bandstand is surrounded by gardens of mature and meticulously tended trees and shrubs
I imagine Dick Van Dyck, with cane, striped blazer and boater, swinging around one of the cast iron columns
Supercalafragilistic comes readily to mind
Sitting here quite benignly is the bust of el médico Dr Ravasco Dos Anjos
I’ve never discovered his story but it completes the slightly surreal nature of the place

O Pátio da Oliveira is undemonstrative
Yet there’s a polarity between its fine cuisine and the day-to-day bars on the opposite corner of the Praça
Mourão seems to possess a disparity between graceful elegance and doughty pragmatism
Whereas Monsaraz, you’ll find, only has a graceful elegance


But both Monsaraz and Mourão have imposing castles
Monsaraz‘s is knitted to the village
Impossible to define where the city wall and castle begin
Mourão’s stands away from the village, on a hill
But from both you can see the other across the vast expanse of the reservoir’s flooded valleys
Europe’s largest, running a hundred kilometers along the border
Where pleasure craft cruise the water like toy boats in a pond

photography and text by Tim Harris


This entry was published on June 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm. It’s filed under Portugal, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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