As new year approaches many are reviewing the past 12months, instead I thought I’d look back to just under 12days ago when we headed north into Alentejo. We were looking for Great Bustards and Common Cranes, the only thing was though we forgot to check the weather forecast. Half way into the journey the Alentejo roads disappeared in dense fog, and the closer we got to our destination the thicker the fog became.
The village we were heading for was Entradas, as the fields and land surrounding this village are one of the best places to spot them. Entradas is so called as it is the ‘entrance’ to the Campo Branco (White Fields), which were once extensive grazing lands in 14th to the 17th centuries and later became great wheat and barley fields.
Arriving in Entradas we decided to have a coffee in the hope the fog might lift in the time we took to order and consume our drinks. Our optimism proved unfounded but the village looked pretty even in dense fog and so I suggested we went for a stroll.
Half way round the village we spotted Museu da Ruralidade, the curator Ana was clearly having a quiet day as she came out to meet us and encouraged us to enter. With the cloud swirling around us we took Ana up on her offer.
The museum’s main collection is agricultural equipment and other objects from Castro Verde area and through excellent use of videos, photographs and the curator’s knowledge you gain a fascinating insight into the life and heritage of this area. Well we did anyway! If you were born and bred in the countryside and are at least 45, or know anyone with an interest in steam then you may recognise some of the equipment as some was made in England or at least modelled on English designs. There are also a couple of temporary exhibitions and an archive.
We spent over an hour in the museum despite it being tiny, and I am sure we delayed Ana from going to lunch. She didn’t seem to mind though and was such fun to chat to. I suspect we were probably her only visitors of the day.
Hopefully the two videos will work for you but my apologies if they don’t. I have had a few problems playing them on Android devices but they work fine on PCs.
If you happen to be travelling on the N2 between Faro and Lisbon, or like us heading to this area to see the Great Bustards then this is an excellent place to stop for a break. There is also Castro Verde to explore a few kilometres away.
By the time we left the museum the fog had somewhat lifted and so we took the decision to take the slow road back via Mertola, in the hope we might we see the odd Crane or Bustard. Unfortunately again our hopes were misplaced, it was however a lovely drive back and by the time we were in north Algarve the sun had got his hat on.
We may have failed to have seen many of the Steppe Birds, but it turned out to be a fabulous day. The museum in Entradas is excellent especially if you are there on a quiet day as then you will probably get Anna’s personal tour. Her English is excellent and she is extremely knowledgeable about the history of the area and the museum’s collection. She brings the museum alive.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a fulfilling 2016. I’ll be back in 2016 with more memories of our Portuguese adventures.