Notes and photos from places around the world that have villages, ruins, and good food. And $35 hotels... Also, wilderness 4x4 camping and backpacking.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Portugal June 2006

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