You know when you become aware of something and then it’s everywhere you look? Like when you settle on a make of car, and then almost every other car is that make. Well, that happened on our recent walking holiday in Portugal. Not cars though, gates. And once we’d spotted one, the others just kept on coming.
The first was actually mentioned in our walking notes on day two; it said the gates might be shut and gave a detour. They were right, the gates were firmly shut, although the fence to the right had quite a large gap, and what looked like a track through. We contemplated it for a while, but on the reasoning that the gates were probably shut to stop walkers accessing the footpath, we decided against it as if we did encounter anyone we probably wouldn’t have had that warm a welcome. And more importantly, it could be a long way back retracing our steps. So instead we took the less exciting detour and missed the strawberry trees it seems - but we did take some time to admire the gates instead.
But then gates became a thing. The next is probably more accurately described as a garage door, but as it’s got a gate in front of it, I’m claiming it for this post. It was towards the end of the day’s walk as we reached Azeitão. I’m sure the pictures tell a story, I’m just not sure what it is…
We stopped in the town for a refreshment or two, and could have quite easily have stopped a bit longer. But knowing we had a hotel to aim for, and reading ahead the walking notes promised some azure blue gates. Which we found easily.
Aren’t they blue? And just look at the blue against the already blue skies. In the days to come we were to discover more blueness in the Bacalhóa estates, but for now just drink in the colour, and yes, as you probably guessed the wine also comes later.
We still weren’t at our second hotel of the walk, and with a quick glimpse behind us there were yet more gates. These only got a quick glimpse as by now, the beer consumed in the town was making its presence known, and so we were both keen to get to the hotel. We did see them a couple of times more though, as they became a bit of a marker on the walks that followed.
We also found the gates to nowhere.
We reached the main road again and then before long we were at the gates of our hotel. We’d spotted the hotel soon after we saw the blue gates, but our route took us the long, and quieter way round.
The next day we were off again exploring the town of Azeitão on foot. There wasn’t a shortage of gates that day , but only one set makes it into this post.
We had three nights in the pink walled and ornately gated hotel, and for our second day based in Azeitão we took the longest, and prettiest walk to the coastal village of Portinho. Part of the route was through a convent, itself part-way up a hill. Seeing the gates was a welcome relief, until we got through them and saw the hill continued and was possibly even steeper. On the plus side we were no longer on the main road, and therefore some of this walk was backwards uphill to enjoy the views and to give our muscles a break. We’re not the only people that do that, surely?
I’ll share more from the convent as it was beautiful and peaceful as you’d expect. Apart from the dog which wasn’t so keen on me. Everytime it barked I jumped, and I think it had some fun with me. MOH walked past it fine, but me not so much. In the end I took a different route giving the dog a wide berth, which suited us both.
I’ve not shared any tiles here from our Portuguese trip, and we saw some fantastic tiles throughout our whole visit. I suspect that’s why. We saw so many that it’s hard to choose a selection, or even to know how to show them at their best. I’ve realised though that the best way, like life, is to just get on and do it, so here’s two pictures of Azulejo tiles, which show two completely different uses. And luckily, both are next to gates, so they qualify for this post too.
The walk to Portinho was very picturesque and challenging at times, but it was definitely worthwhile. Though I was glad we weren’t walking back. There was time for dinner in the village, and then a taxi back to the hotel ready for moving on to our final hotel the next day.
We set off for Palmela the next morning and along the way encountered these ochre walls, which if I’m honest were more attractive than the gates. I thought we were in for a day of functional gates, and initially we were, but then things changed.
Our walk took us along a ridge complete with windmills. Some were in ruins, others had been made into homes. And of course the ones that were now homes had gates. The first we saw was a typical country cottage gate, though not painted white, but the white of the windmill more than makes up for that.
And further along, we were back to the gates we’d become used to, but this time with a windmill residence behind them. Our hotel for the next couple of nights was the Pousada in Palmela, which didn’t have gates as such, but as you’d imagine was at the top of a hill and no doubt quite a fortress in its day.
For our final day of the walk we took a circular route around Palmela. Once again gates were used as markers in the walking notes, and after quite a lot of ups, I for one was pleased to see these as I knew that the route would be levelling out before descending again. They do look rather swan-like to me, do you see swans?
As we headed down again, sure of the knowledge of what goes down in these walks most certainly goes up again, I deployed the tactic of snatching a break by taking some photos. And yes, more gates.
We went up and over the ridge with the windmills from the previous day and I was sorry to see them go until I realised that we’d be walking past the gates, quite literally, of Quinta do Piloto another winemaker, and one which was open to visitors and had a shop. You can just feel my interest peaking can’t you? We made a plan to buy a bottle of wine for our hotel room picnic, as after a week or so of eating hotel breakfasts and good dinners, neither of us could say we were truly hungry, and I was done with walking up and down (or rather down and up) hills.
I always make sure there’s plenty of room to squeeze a bottle of wine into MOH’s rucksack. Even if that means decanting some empty water bottles into my own bag, and as we left, him laden with just one bottle of wine (and if you remember, it was the one that the cork broke) my last gate picture was of this rather magnificent (and yellow) looking house, of course, complete with gates.
So there you go, plenty of gates from the Setubal Peninsula, if gates and ironwork are your thing, then you know where to head.