From NZ, Spain and Portugal are distant mysterious and far off lands, and here we are simply driving from Spain to Portugal – just like that.
We are here, the border does not even have a stop or guard, we barely notice that we have arrived in another fantastic country which is Portugal. What it must be like to live in the UK or Europe and have these places on your doorstep, just an hour or two’s flight away.
Evora has everything – megalithic stone circles, Roman temples and baths, Moorish influences, and its golden age of 14-16th centuries. It even has marks of the inquisition, with public burnings of the victims held in the main squares in the 16th Century.
We stayed in a great budget place – Pensao O Giraldo – a 16th Century house right in the centre of town with parking in the yard. It was great, and the staff could not have been more helpful for both local siteseeing and future planning.
- Capela dos Ossos – the chapel of bones in the church dedicated to St Francis. They have turned human bones into a work of art – a sign over the door says something like “we bones await yours”. It is a place for meditation on our mortality – gruesome but true.
- The administration offices of the local Roman Catholic Church which still have the symbol of the Inquisition over the door – I wonder if we have learnt anything from the past, to continue to wear such a coat of arms over the door.
- The remains of the Roman Temple alongside the 15th century palaces.
- The megalithic stones – to make the connection with a cultural story thousands of years old with links to Stonehenge, and New Grange in Ireland.