Story of the day: Walking in the Alentejo


Here’s a vision of spring from my back catalogue to brighten up the first day back at work. We all need it.

It’s a piece about walking in Portugal’s Alentejo region, where spring arrives deliciously early around mid Feb. It appeared in the Independent.

Here’s an extract:

I found the vital signs of Portugal’s early spring positively exhilarating.

We stopped on a stone-built, Roman bridge outside the sleepy Alentejo village of Santa Clara-a-Velha and listened to the lush orchestration of the birdsong: the melodic call of a blackcap warbler, the scratchy song of canary-like serins and the loud cawing of a flock of Iberian azure-winged magpies, an endemic species.

I’m no twitcher, but the harmonies carried on the spring breeze, spliced with the aromas of chamomile daises and swathes of viper’s bugloss, make for a joyous sensory overload.

In my rural backwater it was just Mother Nature and me. “Tourists?” chuckled Dorset-born Frank, as we drove back towards his rustic lodge, Quinta do Barranco da Estrada, overlooking Lake Santa Clara. “You’re more likely to bump into a wild boar.”

This trip inspired me to spend more time researching the Alentejo and lead, eventually, to a longer article about the Rota Vicentina for Wanderlust magazine.

Read the full story, Take a Walk on the Wild Side.

Did this story leave you full of the joys of spring?

Post your thoughts below.

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