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Published: November 7th 2013
Today we started our morning with a quick breakfast and then piled onto the bus for the day. Our first stop of the day was in the tiny town of Evora. Evora is a walled city. We had a wonderful local tour guide named Maria. Maria walked us thru the town and gave us an overview of the history. This town has existed in some form since the second century. This town has roman columns that are still standing. We really enjoyed how enthusiastic and proud Maria was of her hometown. Maria took us into the Santa Maria Cathedral. This was one of the most unique and interesting churches we have seen to date. This church is home to a statue of Mary while she is expecting Jesus, which we have never seen before. After the church, Maria took us thru the winding streets of Evora. She explained about the local politicals (older men) who sit in the town square all day watching the world go by and solving the world's problems. They were very cute and I got a picture of our fellow tour passenger Bob DiFlorio (former Syracuse City School Superintendent) sitting with them. We meandered our way down
to another church to see a very interesting chapel. In previous centuries, some of the poorer residents of the city were buried on non-holy ground. The fransicians priests decided to give these folks a proper burial by digging up their remains and using them to decorate the walls of the chapel. This reminded the priests during their meditation that life is short and our souls are the only thing that lives on. We were interested to see this chapel, since we missed another famous bone chapel outside of prague. After the chapel, we were left the group to our own to explore the town. We grabbed a quick picnic lunch (the famous snack pack) from the nearby market and sat on a bench in the sun to eat. During lunch, we made friends with a very cute dog and fed him some bits of cheese and bread. After lunch, we wandered thru the town and took in the sites. My mom wanted to go back up to the church to get a figurine of the expectant madonna since that is so unusual. In the process of securing the figurine, we missed our time to be back to the bus. Our
tour guide was not so happy, and so when I returned to the bus alone (2 minutes late)... I told him to go ahead without us. We would stowaway on the second tour bus that was leaving a few minutes later. My mom arrived safely in time to board the second bus and make our way to Monsaraz. Monsaraz is a stunningly beautiful hill top town that overlooks the largest man made lake in Europe. We arrived and had time to explore the town, the old castle including bull ring, and walk around. The pictures we took here are stunning. Our next stop was the Santa Vitoria Winery for a tour and wine tasting. The wine is Portugal has been delicious and plentiful. Every night we have had unlimited wine with dinner!! After the winery stop, we made our way to the hotel which was right across the road. This hotel is unique because it is in the middle of the countryside. We quickly found our room and made our way to a lovely dinner with the group. After dinner, we walked across the lovely grounds and tucked into our room for the night.
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