Although only the walks and towers remain from the original structure, Linhares Castle was classified as a National Monument in 1922. Sitting on a cliff northeast of the Serra da Estrela region, overlooking the Mondego Valley in an area said to have been settled as early as 850 B.C., the castle was strategically important from Roman times until the Middle Ages, then fell from prominence until the seventeenth century when an artesanal clock was installed in the tower. The workings of the timepiece are awesome, its weights a bit terrifying.
Afterwards, the drive southward and downward through the winding mountain passes of the Serra da Estrela range reminded us of a similar drive years ago near Silverton, Colorado. This time when we emerged from the clouds we were in the town of Manteigas. There we found locals chatting at sidewalk cafés and a gourmet shop offering specialty woolen goods of the Alentejano region. Later the terrain would offer photo ops of different kinds of locals.
We reached our destination of the medieval village of Marvão in the late afternoon. There was time to take a look at the glorious gardens and the outside of the castle where we spied yet another local, this one, upon viewing Carson, not as inviting as the others we’d run into.