We were leaving Lisbon right after breakfast. From the buffet, I chose yogurt, granola, and tea. Nick, well into vacation mode, selected chocolate cake with chocolate sauce from the fountain, and a chocolate filled croissant.
We boarded the bus for the city of Évora. Being a walled city, it has a unique charm. We met our local guide, who led us on a walking tour of the city. Évora has quite a history, having been first Greek, next Roman, then Moorish, and in 1165 it became Christian under Giraldo the Fearless.
It’s a short walk to the center of town, where the Church of Santo Antão (Saint Anthony) was built. We learned that one of Italy’s favorite saints, Saint Anthony of Padua, died in Padua, but he was actually born in Portugal. There were cobblestone streets below our feet and the remains of a Roman aqueduct behind us, making the town quite picturesque. In fact, while renovations were taking place under town hall, the remains of a Roman bath were found. We walked on to a Roman temple that has fourteen columns still standing. This town, too, has an Inquisition Square, in which atrocities were committed against Jews for their faith.
We have seen many churches and chapels in our travels, but Évora has one that is unique: the Cappella dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones. Back in the 13th century, three Franciscan monks were concerned about the public’s interest material things. They wanted the townsfolk to have a place to ponder that life on earth is temporary. With that in mind, they lined the walls of the chapel with skulls and other human bones.
After lunch (a sausage platter followed by mushroom risotto) we returned to our hotel, M’Ar De Ar, which had five stars! Nick decided to take a dip in the pool. He described the water as “a mite brisk.” Our group was meeting for a Wine and Cheese Party on the balcony, so I went ahead. A man came over to me, asking, “Barbara? From Westport?” How could he have known? He explained that when he told some of our fellow tourists that he he was from Westport, Connecticut, they told him that there was a couple from his home town in the group. He and I had never met before, but he is very well known in Westport. Before we could talk further, his phone rang. He was at the wrong hotel and needed to join the rest of his group somewhere else.
There were so many appetizers with the wine and cheese that we didn’t feel the need for dinner. We called it an early night.