Friday, 21 August 2009

He says - Evora – I could Die here.

19-21 August 2009

Getting to Evora was an easy ride. We took the toll road from Lisbon it ended up costing us about 6€ but the ease was worth it. As we pulled off I saw a sign for some monoliths and took it with out telling Tam. At first she was unhappy that I was doing something with out talking to her or at least telling her my plan , but she was thrilled when I did tell her. Luckily, the first one we went to was the largest and oldest in all of this region maybe even Portugal. I always associate megaliths and burial cairns with the UK, but there is 100s more here. I still am not thrilled with northern Portugal but central is turning out to be stunning. The only thing that is a bit sad is that there seems to be a complete lack of wildlife except for really large carrion birds. We are unsure if we were looking at buzzards or eagles but one thing is for sure they are very large.

Evora, is pretty much in the centre of Portugal, it is a walled town with world heritage listing. The main part of town is completely surrounded by a wall. Inside the wall the heat was almost worse then out in the blazing sun. The wall and tall buildings completely blocked any kind of breeze. Despite the heat the city had a friendly feel the people were all nice. It was a generally comfortable place. Evora also was the cleanest city I have ever seen, there was not a scrap of litter anywhere.

The little alleys and streets snaked their way around the city and it was easy to get lost. Somehow we never did. The streets ranged from ~2m wide to 2 lane roads, luckily we camped a few ks outside so we did not have to drive in that maze.

The major centrepiece of the old section of town was a temple of Diana held in the centre of a large square flanked on the sides by the cathedral, university and police station. The forth sections was a raised section of the wall that had been enveloped by the city and was now a stunning vantage point. From here you could look over the vast expanse of the city. This wall also had a huge mural allegedly depicting the revolution, however the paint was so chipped and faded that you could hardly make out shapes let alone a theme.

The day was spent walking around and seeing the sights. One of the best was the roman aqueduct, not because of the ducts itself. This was little different to any 100s of others. What made this one special was the houses that were build in to the archways. They were well designed and were made to look like it was part of the plan. There were also streets that would end in a part of the duct, where the top of the archway were only about 1m high, meaning only people could come and go.

One of the big attractions in Evora was a chapel of bones like the others it was created to lay to rest the bones of displaced graves. We of course went in! While there I was amazed at some of the comments that I over heard. Mostly from Americans exclaiming that it is against god, and that it made them “sick to see such horrific blasphemy” but they stayed longer and took more photos then anyone else. I can understand how some people would find it morose, or creepy (especially the way it was under lit and hence was designed to be creepy), but this is a crypt and holy ground so how can it be against their god and blasphemy? More importantly if it was so bad why stay so long and photograph everything?

We decided against having lunch and opted for just fruit as we both thought that we have been eating too much. There was a little fruit seller that was operated by a woman who looked to be several hundred years old. She noticed Dr. Otterboro in Tam’s bag and at first, I think, was frightened until she realised it was a toy. She and Tam then had a great time laughing about it. Tam tried explaining that it is not a rat but an otter. I don’t think the message was ever communicated. After lunch on the steps of the third cathedral in town we walked home to relax. The next day was a day off only the 3rd since we started and Tam basically spent the entire day on the net in the family room at the campsite. I spent it reading in either in the room with her or the tent.

We were once again supposed to get up and go to town for some night shots but it was a very hot day and in the end we could not be bothered walking 8km for a few shots. In retrospect this was a shame and a huge mistake as Evora has been one of my favourite places to date. We are to move on the next day as well.