Saturday, 27 July 2013

how great is the world


The tiny village of Marvão is on the edge of Portugal,
built among granite boulders,
protected by the castle wall.

It is a pristine example of a medieval castle
built by the militant Knights Hospitaller,
to defend the border of the new state of Portugal.

Everything is designed to withstand attack,
with staggered entrances, raised doorways,
watch towers and a traitor's gate.

There is an enormous cistern
which will store six months of rain water
so that the castle is always prepared for siege.

Standing on the battlements
looking inwards towards the keep
the distance between now and then
seems vanishingly small.

Looking outwards across the landscape of Portugal
towards the vast heart of Spain
the words of the Portuguese writer, José Saramago,
capture the essence of the experience:

"how great is the world"

We will return to Portugal very soon,
to explore all of those places that we do not yet know:
the Douro valley, the city of Porto,
the vibrant colours of Sintra,
the landscapes of the Algarve.
So many new places to find!

And, one day, I hope we return to Marvão,
to wander through the streets
that wind precariously along the contours
and see again the world stretched out
beneath the high castle keep.

Thank you, MrM, for organising this wonderful holiday.


  1. how very lovely! so glad for you!

  2. ...and for being so adorable.

  3. Oh Gosh that's beautiful. Such a nice trip for you both. Well done, MrM.

  4. and you, for sharing it with us.

  5. Muito obrigada for this post! Thank you for this post! I truly enjoyed seeing photos of my country! :))


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