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Published: November 4th 2018
A few more pictures of Evora. Evora was originally Celtic and brutally conquered by the Romans, then the Moors. Évora was wrested from the Moors through a surprise attack by Gerald the Fearless
(Geraldo Sem Pavor) in September 1165. The attractive town square was the site of some rather gruesome episodes thanks the the enthusiasm of the Inquisition. The weather turned cold, windy and somewhat wet, still the Cathedrals dripping in stolen gold did not hold a lot of pleasure. But there was an exhibition of thousands of nativity scenes from around the world that ranged from glorious to absurd. In a little workshop, hidden in a far corner, down a winding cobbled alley we found the workshop of a very talented clay sculpture
Sericaia pudding is a baked custard with a crunchy top and smothered in syrupy sugar plums.
Lisbon is a large, unfriendly city, on the advice of Dawn and Gerry and other friends we stayed in Sintra and took a day trip to Lisbon. In Lisbon we saw a Fado show that cost us 50 Euros each (with a meal). It was disappointing but much better was to come in Coimbre. In Lisbon we went to the
Tower of Belem. Unfortunately it was closed due to a workers strike. This is the last sight of Portugal for Vasco de Gama. He died in Goa from malaria.
Sintra is a fabulously beautiful, magic city. All around are undulating mountains, dewy forests with fairy tale lichen and bewitching ferns. It was the playground of the rich and famous who built themselves whimsical palaces to play out their lavish fantasies. The rain increased, the cold intensified and the wind howled in hurricane proportions. It made it not only uncomfortable to visit the high turrets and castles but downright dangerous.
Pena Palace high on a mountain ridge, rises above a thick forest usually surrounded by mist. When we visited the wind was gusting over 70 km an hour. The Palácio Nacional da Pena is a wacky confection of onion domes, Moorish keyhole gates, writhing stone snakes and crenellated towers in pinks, red, blues and lemons. The interior is lavish and in parts lewd.
For my writer friends, whose love of fantasy and magic fills their lives and imaginations with wonder, I took many pictures of the gardens at Qinta da Regaleira. It is a magical villa and fantastical
garden, created in a dream by the Italian opera set designer, Luigi Manini for the impossibly rich Brazilian coffee tycoon, Antonio Carvalho Monteiro or as he was more commonly know 'Moneybags Monteiro. Everywhere there are statues, symbols and suggestions of Greece, Rome, alchemy, Masonry and Knights Templar. There are exuberant towers, waterfalls, gargoyles, dragons, nymphs and above all, or perhaps below all, a magic well, where spirits dwell. The main one is 27 metres deep. It is possible to descent to the bottom and take a magical walk through a stony labyrinth to a smaller initiation well, passing under a playful waterfall. These pictures are especially for my Vision writer friends.
We visited Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of Europe. Some years ago I visited the most easterly part of America in Newfoundland and felt I created a circuit in my life. UNFORTUNATELY the winds were more than gale force. You can see a lady wrestling with her scarf and a piece of plastic blowing in the wind. It was quite dangerous. I was standing near the edge when the wind really picked up and just about blew me off my feet. I hung onto a railing
and managed to get to a more sheltered area by moving hand over hand along the railing. My feet were often dangling off the ground. The sign warning about falling rocks has an epitaph to Pepi, who suffered a serious misadventure at that same spot.
Carl's concert in Coimbra went well but that will be in the next post.
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