Obviously the main curiosity in Abrantes, the strong castle, is closed to the visit Monday. This castle built in the 14th century to protect Lisbon did not resist the invasion of the French Army in 1807 under the orders of Junot which was named duke of Abrantes. On the other hand the gardens surrounding it were accessible with a small basin surrounded by strange flowers and a swan, "whiter than white". It dominates the right bank of Tage river in fog emanating from the cold ground heated by the sun. In cause of despair I left on a tour in the old city at the bottom of castle while strolling randomly the lanes outcomes at a large number of decorated small squares either with a basin or with a modern sculpture. They are covered with awning for the torrid summers. I bivouacked on the carpark of the castle.
On Tuesday, December 5 I left Abrantes in the morning fog to traverse the valley of Tage while visiting charming small village of Constância with its white houses on hillside. Alas the pollution of chimneys of a factory was added to the fog as well as a throbbing background noise. Further on Castelo de Almourol emerged just in connection with these fogs to visit it after a short crossing by boat. Indeed it was built in 1171, like the other strong castles of this time, by the Grand Master of the Templars, Gualdim Pais, on a rock small island in the middle of Tage as line of defense during the Reconquista on the Moors. I was the only visitor to expect the departure of the boat. I stopped a few kilometers further away to bivouac on a carpark at the edge of river.
Before the target of the day I took two pictures while passing into Golegã, center of breeding of horses and bulls, the first the manuelin gate of the church as well as an equestrian azulejo. Even while arriving around 11:00 at Santarém, the city was still covered with a light fog in the coldness because the sun was hidden. With the plan of the city collected at the tourist office I explored it and, I noted that I was the only tourist! Of course curiosities consisted of many churches whose majority were closed except the cathedral and the contiguous museum exhibiting various sacred objects including two statues of the 15th century, one representing the Holy Trinity. While strolling I traversed very commercial malls decorated for the X-mas festivities in order to attract idlers. I bivouacked on a carpark.
On Thursday, December 7 I threw my reserved on the Baths of the Queen, Caldas da Rainha whose interest lies in Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Pópulo with its Gothic bell-tower at the manuelin windows as well as the triptych of the Crucifixion above the arc of manuelin style. Then around Parque Dom Carlos I I traversed the rooms of two museums: At the museum Jose Malhoa, delaying to me in front of suggestive paintings of Jose Malhoa as well as the two more known, “The promises” and “the ultimate interrogation of the marquis de Pombal”. At the museum do Hospital e das Caldas I noticed two particularly azulejos and a painting of the 17th century of Nossa Senhora do Pópulo. On the way towards Óbidos I found a spot of bivouac at the exit of the city.
On Friday, December 8 at 9:00 the village of Óbidos was in the rain and in the fog, not very filling with enthusiasm to visit this high tourist place. Indeed as of 10:00 buses poured the hordes of tourists sheltered under their umbrellas disbudding without shame the passers by. As of their arrival I fled giving up my visit. The village about 12,000 inhabitants is surrounded by entirely restored old walls of the 12th century. I have time to see some sights, the main street and the Santa Maria church. I did not venture on the ramparts slipping by the rain and offering only one spectacle stopped by the fog. Clearing me a forced passage among the umbrellas I returned to my vehicle around 10:30 to go to bivouac always in the rain and in the fog at seaside in Peniche at the bottom of lighthouse.
On Saturday, December 9 by a gloomy weather without much of visibility I went along the Atlantic Ocean in search of beautiful landscapes for pictures, que nenni, nothing to see circulating. Without wanting it I arrived at Mafra at the end of the morning, to make visits too late. I found a bivouac on a carpark in a residential zone.
|Aubade devant la Basilique, le palais, le couvent et la crèche de l'enfant Jésus|
The Palace-convent of Mafra is a building whose the 220 meters frontage long was built at the end of the 18th century by king Jean V. The basilica is detached by whiteness from its Carrara marble like the houses of angle. The visit starts with the palace and the convent. I particularly retained the infirmary and its bottles then the vast furnished rooms giving on the frontage. In the middle of the gallery of 220 meters, the room of the Blessing giving on the basilica is out of white and pink marble. At the opposite of the frontage the long library of more than 80 meters gathers approximately 40,000 volumes out of leather. The ground is also out of pink marble. The cupola of the basilica culminates at 70 meters height. Each vault contains white a marble retable engraved in low-relief. At the transept crossing six organ is encrusted at middle height. In the garden raptors expected with greed their prey, of the tourists. I sought a bivouac at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean on the way towards Sintra.