Chapter seven of seven. Hoo boy! Writing the blog about our trip may have taken me longer than the trip itself!
Indeed, the delightful weeklong drive around northern Portugal provided a plethora of picturesque photos (I just had to pay homage to the “P” right there, especially since, um, our journeys were often defined by the “P” if you know what I mean… and you’ll automatically know what I mean if you’re middle-aged or later), but we certainly didn’t see all there is to see. I found that out because every time we talk to a Português and they ask where we went, they follow up with a question as to whether we saw this place or that, and our answer always seems to be, “Oh, we must’ve missed that!”
Apparently the things to see in Portugal are never-ending. We know we’re going to have to go back up north again when we get tired of not being bored in retirement.
Regardless, we enjoyed every minute of our journey. We also saved one of the best visits for the last entry:
The town of Tomar has a population of about 20,000, and was an important city throughout Portuguese history. The main attraction is the Convent of Christ: a former Roman Catholic complex which also was a stronghold run by the Knights Templar. The castle of Tomar was built around 1160; the Keep in Tomar is one of the oldest in the country.
The towers of the castle were a something of an advancement in that they were built in a round shape, which provides better defense than square towers, unless of course the attack is nuclear.
Originally, most of its residents lived in dwellings located inside the outer walls of the castle for protection. The entire complex is quite expansive; they probably could have hidden almost everyone in the town inside the buildings.
In fact, legend has it that the song made famous in the movie Annie was first written here to make the people who couldn’t be squeezed in feel hopeful that there might be room the next day: “The sun will come out, Tomar-oh, bet your bottom escudo that in Tomar-oh, it’ll be fun! Tomar-oh, Tomar-oh! I love ya Tomar-oh! You’re only a day away!”
I so wanted to show all of our individual pictures and make corny jokes or pithy comments on all of them, but there’s too damn many photos for that. I think Tomar set a personal record for us in terms of photos taken; we were there for quite a while. Of course, I had to share a few separately because they’re just too ripe for the pickin’. For instance in the above I’m sitting right next to a kitchen and I’m pretty sure those holes had something to do with cooking, but it sure doesn’t look like it. It reminded us of the public toilets in the Roman Colosseum and a story of sponges we have since tried very hard to forget. Still, based on looks alone, the phrase, “this food tastes like shit!” can’t help but come to mind.
This is just to give you a sample of the many glorious pictures you’ll see if you have the time to watch the slide show. We were quite impressed with the entire shebang.
And so without further ado, I present the slide show of photos. Wait, where is everyone?
And that’s it for our trip up north! We’ll surely be up there again sometime, because there are a lot more sights to see. Portugal is truly a historical and natural wonder.
You can scroll down if you missed any of the previous six chapters.
Tchau for now!