We have decided to leave the coast and head inland for a few days of ‘culture’ – exploring some of the rather impressive World Heritage sites that Portugal is home to. We thought we might do one blog post covering all of them, but the first blew us away and we have rather a lot of photos to share, so it might be one post per monument – steel yourselves.
There is a bit of history to go with this, so bear with me. On 14 August 1385, King John I made a promise to the Virgin Mary that, if she helped the Portuguese army win the battle against the much larger Castilian army, he would build a monastery. She kept up her end of the bargain so in 1386 construction began of the monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria in Batalha. In 1388 the King gave the monastery to the Dominicans, who remained there until Portugal abolished religious orders in the 19th century. Various architects worked on the monastery at different times and one chapel is unfinished after the King and architect of the time both died.
To call the monastery impressive is to undersell it – our jaws actually dropped a few times at the scale of the place and the detail of the incredible stone carving in some of the chapels.Wonderful as D’s photos are, they really don’t do it justice. Our parking spot for a couple of nights wasn’t bad either.
On a more frivolous note, we are conducting a wine-tasting experiment at the moment – a supermarket brand red wine from Alentejo at €1.49 per bottle versus the Reserva version of the same wine at €3.49 – can we tell the difference? Is it worth paying the extra €2? Or are we really about quantity rather than quality? I suspect I already know the answer. We did decide to avoid the wine pictured below though. We also decided against the Restaurante do Farto – D doesn’t need any help in that department. And on that note, I’ll leave you.
AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
Carvings – extraordinary. Excellent wine humour to finish – was the note to which you refer B-FLATulent? And on a humorous note of my own, I have to register my car. It’s free for old chaps like me but I still have to get a receipt for $0 from the Roads and Traffic Authority before registration can be finalised. Bureaucracy Rules OK!
I’m always staggered by the skill of craftsmen as long ago as the 14th. century. To be able to turn stone into something resembling large-scale lacework is fantastic, and as for the stone tree beside Hans, if it had some smaller branches and twigs it would look just like a real one!
The mention of the restaurant prompts me to relate a joke I heard today about the bald man who had a very hairy bum. He had the bright idea to have his bum hair cut and made into a wig. It actually looked very good but the problem was that it kept blowing off. I know it belongs in the classroom but I quite enjoyed it.
By the way what’s the internet?
most impressive, but you cannot drink the scenery
I would like to share an experience with you about drinking and
driving. As you well know, some of us have been known to have had
brushes with the authorities on our way home from the odd social
session over the years. Well, I have done something about it –: a couple
of nights ago I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few
too many whiskeys as well as beers and some rather nice claret; but
knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did
something I’ve never done before – I took a bus home. I arrived back
safely and without incident which was a real surprise, since I had
never driven a bus before and have no idea where I got this one.
AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
Gold, Pete, Gold.
Wine by the bottle you are going up in the World