Saturday, February 13, 2016
The distance from Casa de Insua to the Pausada we are staying at in Viseu is only 16 miles so we decided to spend the day exploring. Lonely planet recommended some fortress villages north of us so our plan was to set off in that direction.
But first we spent some time in the house and museum at Casa de Insua. Staying at the Casa de Insua Estate felt like we were staying at a the Downton Abbey estate. Much of the decorations, furniture, and fixtures are still in place in the public rooms that we could wander through.
The owner of this estate was the Kings representative in Brazil for many years. His papers which are still at the estate include many maps and drawings of Brazilian fauna and flora. Some of these are on display in the museum.
This estate had one of the first electrical generation plants in Portugal, The workshops, tools, olive oil making equipment and much more were all available to wander through. It was fascinating
When we left Casa Insua and headed north we spotted a couple of roadside signs that led us to interesting sites. First we stopped at a prehistoric stone structure.
Then a few miles down the road we saw a sign for a Roman bridge. We followed a dirt road a ways and there it was. To me it is awe inspiring to have a beautiful Roman bridge be a almost routine part of your countryside. Those Romans sure knew how to build bridges!
Our first fortress town was Sernancelhe. It was raining but we got out and climbed to the top of the castle ruins.
Next we visited the little castle at Penedono. First we stopped for some lunch and then we climbed the castle. The wind almost blew us away but we had the castle to ourselves.
In Viseu where we spent the night we are staying at a Pousada in a former hospital. The building was gutted to build the hotel and it is magnificent.
For dinner we had the special valentines menu.
Pork with a chocolate sauce.
Fish on pumpkin.
Afterwards we sat in the central courtyard and listened to the piano player fill the massive courtyard with beautiful music.