Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
Alcácer do Sal is a municipality in the Setúbal district, the small town is 90 kilometres south of Lisbon and gets it name from the Moorish Castle of Alcàcer, which, situated on the highest point, dominates the landscape. Excavations in the 20th century revealed evidence of human occupation here dating back to the late Neolithic Age. The Archaeological Crypt of the castle has the ruins of a Roman house, during the Roman occupation of Alcàcer do Sal it became an important trade centre for wool and salt.
Rice is grown in Portugal, a fact I didn’t know until my visit here. The River Sado flows through the town, the flat lands and climate make Alcàcer do Sal perfect for growing rice. The climb up the hill to the castle provided views of the rice fields either side of the river. The air was filled with the smell of wood smoke, it was a beautiful still autumn day and I got there in time to watch the sun set.
The Igreja de Santigo, known as much for the resident storks nesting on the twin bell towers as it is for the 18th century azulejos, that cover the inside of the building.
When the sun had set I went for a cruise on the river in the Galeão do Sado, a traditional boat that was originally used to carry the salt that was produced here. Salt production stopped years ago, so the restored boat is now used for tourist trips. It provides a different view of the delightful town of Alcàcer do Sal.