Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evora - town of secrets

Mr B prefers taking the scenic route rather than taking the autovia (motorway) which would have halved the time but also would have halved the fun! Instead we drove through interesting little towns and rolling rather dry countryside, spotting modern windmills and the occasional old windmill, for more than six hours, to reach the most delightful little medieval town of Evora. We found ourselves driving through extremely narrow winding cobbled streets within the city walls. It took a lot of narrow misses squeezing past walls you could reach out and touch and avoiding pedestrians. When we finally arrived at the hotel after a few hair raising moments the hotel receptionist told us in no uncertain terms that we were parked on a pedestrian only street and we should move the car. We did however want to carry our bags up the stairs to our room first. We had managed to fit overnight stuff into our smallest suitcase and Manuel (he reminded me of Manuel out of Faulty Towers) grabbed the bag and ran flat out up the stairs waving his arms in vague directions on the way indicating the breakfast bar, lounge etc. We were exhausted by his anxiety which appeared to be caused by our car being illegally parked outside for five minutes!

Evora has a population of 41,000 and seemed uncannily quiet apart from a few tourists and locals wandering about. We re-parked the car and explored the town. It was gorgeous, so many narrow little steep laneways, cobbles everywhere and inviting little doors indicating hidden treasues behind them. There were lots of squares full of quite busy restaurants but we opted for the one recommended by Manuel which proved to be an excellent choice. Our waiter, who didn't speak a word of English, was like a little bird twitching around and trying to be helpful. Dave had the recommended pork and clams dish while I opted for Portuguese style lamb chops which proved to be a fantastic choice as they were so tasty and juicy. I would love to know what secret spices went into that recipe.

Later we walked and walked exploring every nook and cranny. In one of the main squares there was a large number of brightly coloured fibreglass model pigs. Apparently there was a meeting of the pork community and all the pigs had been painted by different schools to welcome them. It was quite bizarre!

Next day we were looking forward to checking out all those mysterious shops only to find that it was a public holiday all over Europe for Corpus Christi so those doors remain a secret yet to be discovered. This public holiday also meant that a number of tourist spots were closed. However we were lucky to find that the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) was well and truly open for viewing. Oh boy, what a gruesome place that was! A small room behind the altar has walls and columns lined with carefully arranged bones and skulls of about 5,000 people! An inscription over the entrance reads "We bones await yours". It was truly macabre. Oh and to complete the picture there were two hanging mummified corpses - mmmmm, yes delightful!

Near where we had parked the car there were some ruins of a Roman temple to explore and some lovely views. We did like Evora and were sorry we didn't have longer there to enable us to walk along the Aquaduct which is an 8km walk in one direction which could pose a problem at the other end - somewhere to consider in the future perhaps.

Next stop - The Algarve and some time to run!

1 comment:

  1. You'll provide inspiration for a new series of Faulty Towers. Hope the run goes well. Don't forget to record the time and pace for your next blog post. We want proof of your form!