|The plan was to go to Porto today. We spent a big part of one day at the hospital and discussed staying in Lisbon another day. There is certainly a lot more to see than we have managed to get in. Still, we decided a day of driving through the countryside was just what the doctor ordered, so we headed toward Porto.
The freeways are good and we should have made the drive in about 3 hours. Somehow, we still haven't made it. You know, a stop here for egg custard tarts. A stop there for the toilets and you have run out of time.
Actually, we made a big detour that took up most of our time. We stopped at the central Portugal town of Batalha. The monastery there was built in the 14th Century as a tribute to St. Mary for helping the army win the Battle of Aljubrotta. OK, not all that impressive...except that it is.
We were winding through little streets of the town, when we turned a corner and BAM! the monastery soared into the sky ahead of us. It is spectacular. The walls and columns and buttresses are made of stone carved in intricate flowered ways. Honestly, I'm not sure I can describe it. Will add some pictures tomorrow. Am already in my pjs and forgot my camera in the van.
As I said, we didn't make it to Porto. We hadn't booked a hotel ahead of time. So, Dad and I had the big idea of getting off the road before reaching Porto to find a convenient place to sleep. Dad put the name of a hotel into the GPS. We wandered little, dark streets for half an hour and discovered the hotel had been closed...for like 10 years. We tried it again, but still no joy. Finally, we just made for the city center in Aveiro. We found a little two star hotel. It's not up to Mom and Dad's standards, but its comfortable enough. And I even got on the wifi after the guy at the desk--Carlo--told me we probably couldn't.
We had dinner at a local place. Great beef, I mean, bif. The waiter worried over dad the entire meal, cut it up for him before they brought it out. And kept trying to carry on conversation with us even though his English is about as good as my Portuguese.
I think I'm falling in love with Portugal.