The views from Beja are wonderful without needing to climb a single flight of stairs, but if you find a point to stand on then they begin to become something rather special.
The above was taken from Castelo de Beja and was just the start of my photographic adventure. Here are a few more from inside and outside the castle walls, you may recall the Pelourinho de Beja from an earlier post. And can you spot the much older (3rd or 4th century) arch and Roman roadway.
However if you are after spectacular then you need to climb the impressive looking 130ft (40metres) 14th century* keep, called Torre de Menagem. I have added the * as you probably need to add an ‘ish’ to that date; there have been significant additions, de-constructions and renovations over the centuries.
From what I have read it would seem that what hasn’t changed too much is the layout of the interior. Most of the books describe it as having alternating rectangular and octagonal floors, but I am sure the first two were both polygonal!
The statue and tombstone above were on the first floor you entered, and I think the floor shape was rectangular although the walls and ceiling were not! The second floor if I recall correctly was an octagonal, and it felt very regal with its three mullioned windows and vaulted ceiling.
It is on this floor that (what I have named) the ‘Rapunzel’ balcony is located. It was closed on the day we visited so I wasn’t able to throw down my hair to MrB below, still the view from the bottom and subsequent climb up it did give me a good sense of how long her locks would have to have been. Impossibly long! But of course what we are really here for are the splendid panoramic views.
Now you may have spotted my slideshow was not 360 degrees. The reason well I never made it to Torre de Menagem’s top floor nor its external terrace. After my climb to the middle floor I was very aware that my ‘fear of falling’ phobia was close to developing into an anxiety attack, and so for once I listened to the sensible me and slowly made my descent. It wasn’t the height that was the problem, but the circular staircase. Every step was covered in sand and stone dust from the walls and so were rather slippery. Going up to the first floor had been an interesting experience, but coming down the full flight of 183steps I knew would be nigh on impossible. So I didn’t go any higher, and so cannot definitively say if the floors are alternating in their shape!
So apologies for this, however I don’t think we missed out too much on the views. I recall from my Porto tower experience that the views can often be better mid way. Even if they were not though I was am relieved I made the decision I had about not going any higher, as I experienced the phobia returned at the top of the steps outside. For a few seconds I wasn’t sure I make it down!
Fortunately I did and was soon enjoying again the view looking back up. It is a wonderful castle to visit, and as it is free to look round you don’t need to worry about what you might be able to climb or not!
By the way, later, when we were exploring the Roman arch and roadway outside the castle walls I happened to look up and spotted that the external terrace has a slatted floor in places. So even if I had made it up there I probably would never had been able to have gone outside!