A view of the Setubal Peninsula
Palmela Travel Blog› entry 34 of 47 › view all entries
On my way in to Setubal at midday I saw this castle high above the entrance to the city. After having gotten my car back I decided to drive up there and have a look. One of the positive challenges about Portugal is that there a castles everywhere. The town's name Palmela comes from her Roman founder, Cornelius Palma (Palmella).
Palmela, once a fortress, was conquered by the Portuguese in the XII century, from Muslim invaders. It is located up a hill in the Arrábida area, and it's a semi-rural town, right in the middle of Portugal's biggest urban area, though the fact that many people are moving in from big cities like Lisbon represents a problem. Wild fires in the region are another threat to the environment.
Palmela is home to many multinational industrial plants like Volkswagen or Coca-Cola, and a significant number of foreign families live in the area. The local radio often broadcasts in Ukrainian; take that one!
Palmela's traditional products are the wine, which has achieved international awards in several festivals like Bordeaux's, and the Queijo de Azeitão (Azeitão's cheese), also much appreciated. There are several festivals dedicated to these products, being the most famous the Festa das Vindimas (Vines' Festival) and the Festival do Queijo, Pão e Vinho (Festival of Cheese, Bread and Wine).
Palmela is the birthplace of the Portuguese explorer Hermenegildo Capelo and, as a curiosity, where some famous individuals such as Hans Christian Andersen were briefly hosted; I have found HCA´s footprint in many cities in Portugal; I am truly amazed about all the places this man has seen when you thing that his travels was almost 150 years ago.
I drove up to the town's ex libris; the castle (Castelo de Palmela). I must say that the view was stunning; up here you have a unique view over the whole region of Setúbal's Peninsula, Lisbon, and the Atlantic Coast. It is easy to understand that it was a strategic place in past centuries.
I had over the trip gathered and enormous amount of coins; 1, 2, 5, 10 cents which I all had put in my glove compartment in the car. When I parked in front of the castle there was one of these guys who wanted money for helping you finding a spot to park. This guy was to funny; when I came there was only one other car so it was quite easy to find a parking spot. Anyway he wanted some money for helping me; he was not unfriendly but just poor. I decided to give him my coin collection. It was not that there was so much in value but there were a lot of coins. He got really happy and I had a new best friend.