Both Delta Coffee and I are celebrating our big 50 maybe that’s where the addiction to Delta coffee has come from?
We are now roughly 100 miles further North from Ourique. We are mid way between Evora and Estremoz at an absolute gem of a site, Camping Alenjento, run by a Dutch man (we have lists of campsite in Portugal all run by the Dutch for some reason). Anyway, its perfect – great showers, loo seats, electric and wifi. At €8 a night its a total bargain and a good base for the next few days.
Well the 12th dawned wet and cloudy – who cares – its my big 50 birthday and we are going out for the day to celebrate. Destination Evora – mode of transport, the local bus. We checked times and bus leaves at 7.55am, so set alarms for 7am. For some bizarre reason alarms go off at 6am (ooops). Anyway, means we are ready early and catch bus no problems from outside campsite. After about 20 minutes bus arrives in town at a square, beautiful old church etc. So we are about to get off – but Iain thinks it may not actually be the town we are going to. Correct – that man – it wasn’t, our stop was another 10 miles away!
After nearly an hour on the bus (its not more than 20 miles) we arrived in Evora, first stop the much talked about gypsy market. Massive, loads of stalls – nearly all of which sell knickers, socks or table clothes. There were a few selling secondhand shoes, one or two selling other bits and bobs but vast majority socks and knickers, so we gave that a miss.
Evora itself, so worth the effort of going there. The old town has everything from a Roman temple, a palace, a cathedral and so much more. Cobbled streets, so tiny you could hardly drive up them (didn’t stop the locals using them for special stage practices). The main attraction was the roman temple which dates from the 2nd century, fairly amazing and even more so in that access isn’t in anyway restricted, no fences, no ropes just stroll right up to it. From there we went into the cathedral, another stunning place and for some strange reason our entry ticket allowed us on the roof! For the love of Jesus what the hell are they doing letting me on a roof?? There is no safety rail, its extremely high, it’s wet and very slippy – I was somewhat nervous (understatement) but hey I have a fear of heights so what better thing to do on your birthday?
From there is was feet on the ground stuff, more churches than you could shake a stick at – we sat through half a mid morning mass in the The Igreja de São Francisco, the high light of which was an incredible solo sung by a lady from the congregation. Next door and my strange addiction to human bones was once more indulged with a visit to the Capela Dos Ossos – another chapel made from human skulls and bones. Every wall and ceiling covered in thousands. The motto over the door in latin translates to “we bones await your bones”!
Lunch stop for today was pizza, not at all a local dish but very, very good. Chilli con carne pizza with nachos on top is the way ahead for pizza, made nicer by a half bottle of cheap vinho tinto.
We had an amble around the shops after lunch, the sun came out, we found the bus terminal and then headed home. All in all a very lovely birthday day out, made even more special with lots of birthday text, emails and cards. My 50th banner is up in the van proclaiming my half a century (thanks Ros). We are settled in for the night, no bars nearby so will make do with some good cheap local red wine in the van.