Despite the “potential” for showers, and the cooler than we’ve been enjoying “temperature” , the five of us, Benoit, Diane, Françoise, Marc and I, hopped in the car this morning and headed off, upwards in the mountains and then a sharp right towards Alcoutim. A lovely drive through thriving cork forests, steep mountain climbs, deep lush green valleys and undulating farmland, terraced up and down the side of the mountains. We made several stops, including in the village of Cachapo to enjoy a bica, stretch our legs and give our friends a taste of the “charming patio” that Marc and I discovered a few years ago.
Alcoutim is a pretty village on the banks of the Guadiana river, about 40km north of Vila Real de Santo António. It is a hillside town of cobbled streets, small squares and a paved promenade along the river front which is overlooked by a handful of cafes and restaurants.The river is quite narrow at this point and on the very opposite bank, looking close enough to reach out and touch it, is the Spanish village of Sanlúcar de Guadiana.
I’ve been here a few times and the church has always been closed but today, as luck would have it, it was open and we popped in before going for lunch. This is one of the best examples of early Renaissance architecture in the Algarve. Built between 1538 and 1554 on the site of a medieval church
There was a restaurant right at the base of the steps leading up to the church and by now it was starting to pelt rain so…….not much discussion about where to eat but as luck would have it, it was quite delicious and goodness knows, plentiful! Restaurante O Soeiro (Restaurant of the Steward)….no doubt a boating term.
It was disappointing that as we arrived it started to rain heavily but, who cares. We had a great day. A wonderful drive that will leave all of us with great memories. Grand company and conversations, a fabulous meal and a pleasant safe journey home. I’d call that a good day!