2015 European Adventure travel blog

Monastery window

Gardens around the cloisters

Towers of the monastery

When did hamburgers become a science?

Dome in the monastery church

Highly decorated architraves

Some garden art I would like


Despite the fact of a rest day today we still woke early at 6:30. It's kind of depressing if you can't sleep in. As it was too early for breakfast I finished last night's journal and Maree added the photos. After breakfast we met up with Gina & Bruce who had gone to the supermarket earlier in an unsuccessful search for sun screen. This is probably wishful thinking anyway, as the forecasts are for showers for the next few days. Meanwhile Gina had decided that she would like to get a waterproof rain jacket and had been given a name and location of a bike shop in nearby Leiria. I did a Google search and found that there was a bike shop in Batalha and the girl at the reservation desk marked it on a map. As it looked fairly close we decided to try that one first.

Following a supplied map Bruce, Gina, Maree and I started to walk to the bike shop which we estimated was probably a kilometre away. We ended up on a main road with no footpath and, after seeking directions, we walked and walked ending back in town???? To cut a long story short, after stopping for a cooling drink because it was actually sunny and warm instead of raining as forecast, we caught a taxi to the shop in Leiria. Thirteen kilometres and 12 euro later the taxi pulled up outside the shop which turned out to be closed (despite their website which said open every day). Since we still had the taxi we had him drive us to a shopping centre that we had passed and handed over 15 euro. Inside we found a store which resembled Rebel sports back home. After some uumming Gina selected a suitable jacket which was far less expensive than anything similar in Australia.

It was now close to lunchtime so we located the food court which had all the usual international fast food outlets but we selected one that was Portuguese. Their offer was soup, a salad, a pastry and a drink for less than 5 euro which turned out to be just the right amount for a lunch. Next on the agenda was to find some sunscreen. If supermarkets didn't have it perhaps a pharmacy might so we searched for one of those. There was sunscreen indeed but the choice was limited and the price was ummm high, 22 euros. Nevertheless, beggars can't be choosers so a small tube was purchased. Now to catch a taxi back. When we arrived there were three taxis at the rank so we were a little surprised to find an empty rank. Not knowing how to call for a cab we decided to wait and hope for the best. After a while a nearby local realised that we were waiting for a taxi so she indicated that she would call one. Soon enough a cab turned up, the driver hopped out and gave the local lady a kiss, then drove us back to our town at breakneck speed. I forgot to mention earlier that our first driver was quite happy to carry out a conversation on his mobile while driving at speed on the freeway.

The monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria was commissioned by King Joao I following a vow made on 13 August 1385 to Our Lady that a monastery would be built if the Portugese army defeated the Castillian army. The battle took place on the following day near Batalha, which means battle, and the monastery indicates the result. Work began in 1386 and continued for the next two centuries. The Dominican monks inhabited the monastery until the 19 the century when religious orders were extinguished. The splendid valued ceiling in the main church and the magnificent cloister were the work of two architects, Domingues and Huguent. A second cloister with an unusual second storey was added later. In the 15th century. King Joao's son, King Duarte, tried to add some additional chapels to the end of the main church but ran out of money. These are now referred to as 'The Unfinished Chapels'. We wandered in an around the monastery for a couple of hours before heading back to the hotel for a bit of rest before dinner. As it was a rest day we had to make do for dinner so we went to el Burro Vielho which was r commended. The meals were OK but nothing special and we were entertained by watching various crayfish and crabs pootling about in a tank waiting to be chosen for someone's dinner.

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