We head south to Evora

October 14, 2017 - Évora, Portugal

There was a message pushed under our door in the afternoon to say we would be collected from the hotel at 8am so we prepared for another early start and a rushed breakfast.

My head cold was worse during the night so neither of us got much sleep, which may have been just as well. About 2am I discovered another message under our door. The hotel pickup would now be 9.20am. Almost an hour and a half extra to sleep in and have breakfast at a more leisurely pace. The trade-off being the thought that our bus will have been collecting others for the tour and all the best seats already taken.

When we went down to breakfast about 8.30am we discovered the others of our group had only found their message when they got up. Not a good way to begin this part of the tour.

Our bus turned up at 9.30am and Alex, our guide for the southern part, introduced herself and we loaded our luggage into the back of a twenty-seater bus. The boot was already crammed but it all piled on top. Anything could happen next time the door is opened.

There were ten people already on the bus. A Canadian couple, two American women travelling together and another six Aussies. With our guide as well there was only one spare seat so we jammed in where we could. Margaret sat in the back seat behind me as there was only the back four seats and the file of single seats to choose from. Margaret likes to grab a photo or two from the bus windows and was annoyed to find that there was an 'Emergency Exit' sign right in her line of vision. We swapped seats at our first comfort stop, or 'technical break' as our guide likes to call them. At the break we also had a chance to see some cork oak trees up close.

As we drove along our guide talked to us about some of the areas we were passing, the migratory birds and pointed out things like stork's nests on electricity pylons. So this is what a tour guide does! We soon arrived at Evora where we would be staying the night but parked the bus outside the walls and walked in for a look at the old part of town.

Our first visit was to the 'Bones Chapel' at St Francis' Church. It was only a quick visit before we trooped off to the town square with about 2 hours free time for lunch. We found a small café where we had a sort of sandwich made of puff pastry filled with ham and about the size of a sandwich. Then we walked around to see some of the Roman buildings and the aqueduct that were marked on our map of the town. In fact all of the parts of the aqueduct that we saw had been incorporated into later buildings.

When we met up again after lunch and Alex led us around to see the Cathedral with its blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture with Baroque flourishes to the woodwork of the side chapels and altar pieces.

Alex then walked her little group further on through the town past some Roman building (temple?) that was being restored before going down to meet our bus.

I am not sure why but we drove around (and around and around) before going to the University. We all commented that we saw the same places three times on the drive. The University was originally a Jesuit University that opened in 1579. It was closed in 1779 as part of the Marques de Pombal Jesuit Oppression and did not reopen until 1973. When we went into a quadrangle to wait while Alex organised our entry and visit permits some of our group began talking to an American guy from Montana. He was there doing some Postgraduate work and stole some of Alex’s thunder by telling us how the tiles on the walls of the old rooms helped illustrate the lessons.

After our time at the University we went on to the hotel and a few hours of free time. We spent it over a few drinks in the courtyard before dinner in the hotel restaurant. We could have walked up into the town again but are just getting tired of it all and if the truth be told this town is not really that picturesque compared to other 'white villages' we have seen.

We sat near Tony and Jenny from Brisbane while we had drinks in the courtyard of the hotel and then joined them for dinner as we all found plenty of things to talk about.

John Dory Fillet with a tomato dish on the side for Margaret while I had Salmon with a pea puree. A little vino tinto to go with the food and a coffee to finish.


Cathedral of Évora
Cathedral of Évora
Colégio Luis António Verney
Stairway in our hotel
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