The major event between Evora and Nazare was a gas stop at which I lost our turnpike ticket. Big mistake. When one loses a ticket, one is charged for the entire length of the turnpike...in our case, about E47 or US$ 60. Ouch.
Anyway, we arrived in Nazare, and even though old ladies were standing and sitting at street corners trying to attract us to a room in their house, we found a quite nice hotel--the nicest of the trip, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017339219" alt=""/>up a block from the beach but with a bit of view and tons of space. Quite happily stayed here three nights.
After a nice seafood dinner?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017379966" alt=""/> at sunset, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017409776" alt=""/>we retired reasonably early so that the following day, a Sunday, we could make it to four different destinations. We got in three. We started with Tomar, which was recommended to us by a shopkeeper in Lisbon when I bought a Knights Templar badge in his store. This is a castle/church/fortress from the 12th or 13th century, and really was awesome. ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017446514" alt=""/>It's a walled city castle, full of great artwork and design, such as these very old tiles on one simple wall.?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017474701" alt=""/> The cathedral had some of the oldest and most impressive work we'd seen, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017504862" alt=""/>?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017534374" alt=""/>and we saw some good stuff.
I was also particularly interested in the relief knights that decorated the outside of the church, guarding it. Clearly years and weather have taken their toll; still the knights guard on.?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017583920" alt=""/>
The shopkeeper also told us to visit Almoudar...unfortunately, when we arrived at this Templar castle sitting in the middle of the Teja River, the tourist boat was pulling into the dock and the workers were going on a long lunch; so we didn't get into the castle. ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017623566" alt=""/> Darn. Next time.
From Almoudar, on to Fatima, where in the early 1900's three local shepherd children had several visions of the Virgin Mary, always appearing on the 13th of the month, and always telling them to pray, along with several prophecies. A huge church/cathedral, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017666328" alt=""/>a chapel on the spot of the visions, and a new 9000 seat auditorium have been built on the property, as well as a marble pilgrimage path for penitents and pilgrims to approach all on their knees,?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017713078" alt=""/> and more stunning, newer artwork. ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017742873" alt=""/> ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017770094" alt=""/>A truly interesting place.
On to Batalha, site of a battle between Portugese and Spanish in Middle Ages, when the Spanish were routed and the cathedral was constructed to mark the victory. Another great and interesting church,?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017804753" alt=""/> followed by a really good craft fair near the grounds of the church. Unfortunately, we didn't have one more site in us that day, so had to leave Alcobaca for another day.
Next day was windy, so instead of lots of beach time we headed south to Obidos, which is my view of heaven...a 13th century walled city that reeked of charm. Unfortunately I had my camera set on black and white, which doesn't do the town justice...but you get a sense of the scope of the wall, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017841199" alt=""/>which was 40 feet high and caused vertigo with nearly every step, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017908338" alt=""/>and we navigated most of it.
After Obidos, we found another beach just south of Nazare, called Praia Salgado, ?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017881532" alt=""/>and happily spent several hours here before heading back to the hotel and dinner. Then on day three of this segment, headed back to Alcobaca where this angel guards a tomb. __SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1339017945925" alt=""/> on the way to Coimbra and our northern leg. Another amazing monument to Christianity and money and power, not necessarily in that order. This section of Portugal seems to have lots of the influence back in the Middle Ages, and is a joy to tour.