Today was our day in Evora. Slower start than planned as C had a sleepless night ( too much wine J thinks). Breakfast in the hotel. Great selection of cereals - corn flakes, whole meal cornflakes, chocolate cornflakes. And J nearly broke a tooth eating his. They had some fresh fruit so a banana was scoffed. Also peach jam to go with croissants or milk bread rolls.
About 10 we were underway. Only 2 blocks from hotel to the walls and the entrance to Evora. First stop was the Public gardens for C to talk to the ducks. Next was the Gothic Igreja de São Francisco (unusual inside as it is mainly rough stone, even the ceilings) and the adjacent Chapel of bones. This was quite bizarre, and C wouldn’t go in. Lots of skulls grinning at you, and a dead guy in a glass case. Not sure what it all means, but it was different.
We walked on up into the town proper to e Praca do Giraldo which is sort of the main square. Great buildings all around. The smaller buildings and houses are mainly white with deep yellow trim and terracotta tiles. It was quite busy - all the more as cars were whizzing about on many of the narrow streets. We stopped for a cold drink ( non alcoholic) and then got going up to the shopping street - fifth of October street. Lots of tourist shops and a few with more local arts and crafts. By the time we had finished, it was lunch time so we found a ‘bakery’ in a side lane. A bit more up market than a bakery, and no pies or sausage rolls. Some simple fare and cold drinks.
We walked further up and viewed the cathedral ( from the outside - J and C are getting a bit blasé about churches by now as they have seen so many) we walked a bit further up to the Roman Temple ruins ( built for the deceased Emperor Augustus in the 1st century A.D. - he got very little use out of it!) a bit further to a small park - Diana’s garden. There were dozens of students of varying ages with paint and easels painting the temple and other buildings surrounding it. It was a relaxing scene.
It was hot by now and J forgot to buy water when we were in the shopping areas. The aqueduct was the next target, and J hoped he would find a shop somewhere. We walked down into the general area, mostly residential dated at about late 1700s. Very quaint narrow cobbled streets of various widths. Care was needed when a car was heard. ( ie the rumble of rubber on cobbles)
We found a shop and J went in for water. The man asked “ where are you from?” J was tempted to say “ I come from a land down under” and instead said “Australia”. He said “that’s a long way” and “ have a good holiday!” They walked along and J spotted some stone arches the
At formed the wall of a house. He had the scent, a bit further on a section of aqua duct, and a little further, a large section big enough to drive under. We found a part of the structure where water was available from the aqueduct via pipes - a communal water outlet where people could collect their water.
Time was ticking on and as it was so hot, a swim was planned at the hotel pool. So we made our way back, J and C grabbed pool towels and got ready for a swim. Unfortunately their room still hadn’t been made up. Down to the pool and there were only a few people baking or reading. ( or both) They got in slowly as the water was freezing ! After 10 minutes they got used to it and relaxed to get their core temperatures down! Very refreshing.
Back to the room and no sooner had they got there than the housekeeper arrived. C said we would be happy with some fresh towels. “No, I have to do the room” was the reply. So J and C had to stand outside in their togs with towels around them dripping water all over the floor until she finished. She left happy! And we had our clean towels, plus a made up bed and a clean floor!
By now it was after 5, and we took the car and headed out of town in search of some stone Monoliths. “It won’t be dark will it?” Asked C. “No we will be back by then” said J confidently. Tom was programmed for Valverde nearby the monoliths (or close enough to use the small map provided). We got there easily, stopping to view another aqueduct. We drove on through the town and saw the Brown signs for the Sites - straight ahead they showed. So off we went as the sun got lower ( now right in J’s eyes). About 9 km on a narrow bitumen road with no shoulders before J stopped and turned around. No further brown signs. Back to Valverde and J programmed Tom to another village a few km away. Here more brown signs pointed the way ( the others had been exactly 90 degrees wrong!) We kept on and followed another car on one of the worst gravel roads we have travelled for ages. Corrugations, potholes, rocks jutting out, etc. eventually we got to a parking spot and could see something about 100 m down the road. The sun was now almost set. ( remember J’s confident promise?) Anyway, here were the stones, on a slight incline surrounded by cork forests. Mostly about 2-3 m high, with a few lying horizontally where they had fallen. Some of the suns rays illuminated the stones as we looked and took photos. Another group there chatted with J and C ( they were Czech, Slovak, and Americans ( they pointed out where some of the stones were inscribed but it was hard to see. It was worth the pain in getting here!
Back on the road, and in no time, and in the dark we arrived at the hotel.
Then one block down to a restaurant where we had a simple meal of Francesinas and fries, followed by vanilla icecream. For those who don’t know, a Francesina is like a bread bun, filled with steak, sausage, bacon, and ham, covered in melted cheese, with a fried egg on top, and swimming in a rich tomato sauce. With a plate of fries! It’s a Portuguese thing, and we had to have one. But unless we take up wood chopping, we won’t be having them very often! All the menu was Portuguese, almost all the staff only spoke Portuguese. One lone girl ( Maitre D I think) spoke English, so she was the translator. It was a nice meal . Back at the hotel, C said “Once eaten, twice shy!”