Bob attended a fine conference run by the central bank of Portugal and Sooz joined at the end of the conference. We made a circle through the midsection of the country, starting in Evora, the site of the conference, spending three days in Lisbon, two days along the coast northwest of Lisbon, then traveling east to the Spanish border at Marvao, then west again to Lisbon. We avoided the beaches of the Algarve and the mountains and wine region of the north. We concentrated on villages, ruins, and good food. Got plenty of all of them.
The major stops were in churches with affiliated monestaries and convents:
Convent of Espinheiro, Evora, now a hotel, where the conference was held
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos with Santa Maria de Belem, Lisbon
Mosteiro da Batalha
Mosteiro de Santa Maria, Alcobaca
Convento de Christo, Tomar
We also visited nifty hill towns, including Estremoz, Sintra, Obidos, and Marvao, the Roman ruins at Conimbriga (the best in Iberia, but not to be compared to Tunisia), and Elvas, sister city to Graceland. The hill towns all have well-preserved medieval castles, which are so common in Portugal as to merit little comment.
The Roman and the medieval, Evora
Evora, the Capela dos Ossos, with walls made of bones
On the winery tour
Megaliths at Cromeleque, 6000 years old. Why?
Doigts de mer, a delicacy not enjoyed since our 1995 trip to Barcelona
This is really a picture, not a travel poster! Lisbon, from the castelo
Interior of Santa Maria de Belem
Ceiling of Santa Maria de Belem
Elephants holding up a tomb in Santa Maria de Belem, reflecting Portugal's colonial role in India
Lion guarding the fountain in Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The ice cream cone esthetic at Jeronimos
The cloister at Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Belem, Lisbon
Figures at Santa Maria
Mary teaching Jesus to swim, Santa Maria de Belem
Obidos, quintessential picturesque hill village
The sanctuary at Alcobaca
Figure at Batalha
Monk-dog chimera patiently supports a tomb at Santa Maria de Vittoria, Batalha
Fountain in the cloister at Alcabaca
Sooz across the cloister at Tomar
Spiral staircase at Tomar
Detail from the exterior of the church at Tomar
In the sanctuary at Tomar
Notes and photos from places around the world that have villages, ruins, and good food. And $35 hotels... Also, wilderness 4x4 camping and backpacking.