On Tuesday, December 26 by leaving the artificial lake of Póvoa my first stop was in Elvas, registered with the inheritance of UNESCO in 2013 as fortified town surrounded by ramparts and occupied by the Moors in 1226. The historical center around Praça da República draws attention by Sé, cathedral Gothic of origin but rebuilt in manuelin style, by Lago de Santa Clara with in its center the pilori of the 16th century, and by the castelo built by the Moors. In this day of December 26th all monuments were closed. At the exit of the city I went along the impressing Aqueduto da Amoreira builds from 1498 to 1622. it marries the escarpments of the hills on 7.5 kilometers. It always feeds the city out of water. I continued my way up to Évoramonte whose castelo on a hill dominates the plain neighborhood with its enormous keep. I bivouacked at the bottom of castle.
Wednesday, December 27 was dedicated to the visit of Evora registered with the world heritage of UNESCO, here. Weather was not favorable, a drizzle fell quasi permanently making the trip painful and wet. Consequently I shortened by limiting me to the most significant monuments of this city conquered by the Moors into 715 after having been Roman then wisigothe and finally reconquered by the Christians in 1165. Unquestionably it keeps the traces of these various times, witnesses Templo Romano as well as wall vestiges here and there. At a turning of a street Caixa de Agua attests water supply by an aqueduct built in the 16th century. It is rich in churches and convents of all the religious orders as well monks as nuns. The cathedral is the most significant part of piety at the medieval time, by its two powerful notched towers, its Gothic cloister and its nave arched in cradle in which figure a parturient Virgin facing the archangel Gabriel as well as an organ of 1562 considered as the oldest in Europe. From the treasure of the museum I retained more particularly, a Deposition by Gregorio Lopes, the reliquary of the true cross and a opening Virgin out of ivory finely engraved. In advance under the drizzle I reached the Largo da Porta de Moura where is a Renaissance fountain on bottom of the towers of the cathedral as well as the elegant Moorish loggia. While curving the spine I returned to my vehicle to put to me at the shelter. I bivouacked on the spot.
Thursday, December 28 was still a day of rain and fog. I went along the Spanish border which is constellated with castelos on Portuguese side to defend the independence of the kingdom after the reconquest of the territory on the Moors. Of course I did not visit all of them me concentrating on the most significant, Monsaraz and Mértola. Monsaraz was in the fog at 9:00 am. It is animated with mannequins representing the villagers in activity. Mértola is built at the edge of a river whose castelo is in the state of ruin except the restored keep. Wishing to go up to the castle I followed the road signs to find me in a very narrow street and finally in a turn on the right which required more than ten before-back operation to negotiate it, I believed not to be able to leave there without damage my truck. But I passed, phew! Once again I went up on foot to the castle. I bivouacked on a carpark outside the village.
On Friday, December 29 I spent the morning to visit the town of Beja and more particularly Antigo Convento da Conceicão which shelters Museu da Rainha D. Leonor, then Igreja de Santo Amaro which gathers the sculptural art of the wisigothic time. But while arriving at Beja the fog still recovered the city consequently I settled in a coffee for a complement of breakfast before my cultural trip. The convent of the clarisses was founded in 1459. The baroque vault was decorated at the 17th and 18th century with profusion of gilded wood as well as azulejos for the cloister. The highlight is the chapter house richly decorated with paintings and azulejos. In the adjacent rooms I retained the exceptional Ecce Homo by Portuguese school in the 15th century. Igreja de Santo Amaro is of wisigothic origin in the 6th century, it is used as museum of the eponymous art whose certain parts testify to the re-employment at the time of the occupation by the Moors. In extreme end of the morning I moved towards the ocean to bivouac in Porto Covo on the sea front.
On Saturday, December 30 the sun did not heat the atmosphere before 11:00 am. The fog stationed on the landscape as well as on the Atlantic coast when I passed at Cabo Sardão. On the other hand on my arrival at Odeceixe the sky was blue and the resplendent beach. I bivouacked on a carpark overlooking the bay.
|Cabo de Sardão|
On Sunday morning, last day of the year 2017, I traversed in the fog the south-western coast of Portugal, Algarve. As I expected it parking lots for motor homes were crammed mainly by Portuguese but also by German and Scandinavian, Dutch and Swedish. After a short stop in Lagos to visit Igreja de Santo António, No Photo, to admire decoration as well as the ceiling misleads of it the eye, I continued my way towards Barragem do Arade where I thought of finding a bivouac peaceful for two days. Que nenni I arrived on a rather exiguous spot occupied by a German colony in line on the circumference and in square at the center for the emblematic “Stammtisch” gathering the members around, of course, beer. I did not have any more another choice, I stayed.
|Infante D. Henrique|