Another cut and paste. This is about 12km further on from Sabugal on the road to Monsanto.

“Surmounted by a castle built on a formidable crag at an altitude of 760 metres, Sortelha still retains its mediaeval appearance intact through the architecture of its rural granite houses.

Sortelha had therefore part of an important line of defence formed from a series of castles built on the borders of the territory, most of which were either erected or reconstructed on the earlier hill forts of ancient Iberian civilisations. The village´s name derives from the nature of its terrain, being surrounded by rocky escarpments in the shape of a ring (sortija, in Castilian), its walls also having been built in a circular fashion.

The great charm of this village is its evocation of a mediaeval atmosphere, with all the houses having been built of granite and generally consisting of just one storey. Their foundations have been built into the rock and follow the topography of the terrain. “

I was the only person there at 10am and I wandered into the medieval square to be greeted by two large dogs and a mangy cat. All were thankfully friendly and having sniffed my crotch then the pannier, they sat in the slowly warming sun and ignored me!

A word of warning: if and when you make this trip yourself  (and you should)  all medieval villages that boast a castle and a wall, in Portugal will of necessity, be perched on a granite mountain somewhere between 600 and 800m elevation with an access road that inclines on average at 11% and is cobbled for the last half a kilometre. Your just dessert when you have reached the top (surely walking) is a hot milk coffee and if the elevation gain is at or below 600m, one Portuguese Tart, if the the gain exceeds 600m, TWO Portuguese Tarts! 



yes it is snow!



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