Fragrance Quote for March 30thth, 2012- Through Spain and Portugal By Ernest C. Peixotto

Fragrance Quote for March 30thth, 2012- Through Spain and Portugal By Ernest C. Peixotto

THESE drives in central Portugal are truly delightful. The little open carriage, the horses' steady pace, the soft fragrance of the air, the ever-changing and ever-pleasant pictures along the way, make an ideal mode of travel, far from the noisy railway and the dust of automobiles. The scenery is not spectacular in any way—just lovely country, peaceful and idyllic. Rows of oaks and eucalypti ranged against the sky, cork-trees by the roadside, vineyards perched on rocky terraces, vales of olive groves, and, most of all, pine woods, sun-drenched and balsamic, on the risings—such are the features of the landscape. Villages seem few for populous Europe, but the farms, when you come upon them, are homelike, freshly painted, and clean.

For some hours we drove along, crossing many steep ridges until, toward noon, Ourem's Castle came in sight, perched high on a fat, round hill. This we skirted, through vineyards and olive orchards, until we entered the long street of a town, Villa Nova d'Ourem, where we drew up before a very modest hospedaria. Notwithstanding its humble appearance, we found a neat, cool room up-stairs and had a good, plain luncheon.

As soon as the noonday glare had somewhat subsided we were off again for another two hours. Then, at a turning, Thomar's church and castle suddenly rose before us. It seemed too late to climb the hill that evening, so we loitered instead in the fragrant gardens that skirt the Nabao, a little stream that seems to run right through these pleasure grounds, feeding numerous picturesque wheels that dip its water into sluices and carry it off to the thirsty fields.