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Portugal Trip from July 16 to 28, 2008

With only limited time available and no research we zig-zagged Portugal from bottom to top in search for beautiful scenery, culture and heritage. We have broken Portugal into three (3) sections. Portugal Photo Page 1 covers the Algarve coast line and Evora. Portugal Photo Page 2 is central Portugal including Lisbon, Alcobaca, Batatha and Tomar.  Whereas Portugal Photo Page 3 outlines our visit to the Serra da Estrela, Oporto, Douro Wine Country and Parque Natural de Montesinho. To read more proceed to Portugal Journal.

Our Campground, Parque de Campismo de Evora, is located on the outskirts of the town.

July 21, 2008. It should have taken us a couple of hours to Lisbon, ...

... but instead we broke down in Vendas Novas, approx. 60km from our destination.

We locked Ruby's motorcycle in the garage seen in the background, while we did two (2) trips to Lisbon for parts.

The BMW shop in Lisbon, who provided us with excellent service. Thanks Manuel Bernardino for your kindness and of course to the stranger who bought us a new battery.

After installing the new battery drop of the motorcycle for check up. They hooked it up to the computer & only came up with a couple of minor issues (free of charge).

In Lisbon we stayed at the Parque de Campismo de Lisboa Campground. Ruby wanted a picture of this nicely restored Citroen (Ente).

July 22, 2008. With only one (1) day to spend in the Capital of LISBON...

... we concentrated on the BELEM area.

The Belem area has most of the great monuments which date back to it maritime past.

Our first stop is the MOSTEIRO DOS JERONIMOS.

It is an awe inspiring 16th Century Monestary.

We visit the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, located in the west wing of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos.

The current exhibition displayed a whole section on burial methods.

Another section paid tribute to the Egyptian and Greco-Roman funerary art, featuring tombstones similar to ones we had seen in the Middle East.

The Nave inside the church of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos.

The Tomb of Vasco da Gama, a famous Navigator.

Octagonal pillars hold up the spectacular vaulted ceiling.

Beautiful stained glass cover the windows.

The tombs of Manuel I and his wife and Joao III and Catarina are located in the Chancel.

Even the ceilings are masterworks.

The Chancel, which was commissioned by Dona Catarina.

A view from above the altar looking toward the entrance of the church.

The Cloister is incredible.

Manueline architecture at its best.

Richly carved arches.

The Refectory.

Central fountain in the Praca do Imperio in front of the Monastery.


Located on the waterfront of the Tagus River.

The Monument pays tribute to all the famous navigators who took part in the development of the Portuguese Age of Discovery.

Of course we can not resist taking the elevator and stairs to the top of the Monument for an amazing view.

In the far distance we can see the Ponte 25 de Abril linking central Lisbon with the Outra Banda, the south bank of the Tagus.

High above the city towers the monument of Cristo Rei.

An aerial view of the Praca do Imperio and the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos.

Henry the Navigator stands at the prow with a caravel in his hand.

Statues of mariners and royal patrons, like Don Manuel I are depicted on the west side of the Monument.

Only a few hundred meter further west lies the TORRE DE BELEM.

Originally it was located in the middle of the Tagus River...

... but in the 19th Century the northern banks of the River were reclaimed, hence the Torre de Belem is actual now attached to the northern shoreline.

Narrow hallways lead to small lookout rooms.

The exterior is adorned with a Rhino.

Spiral stone staircases lead to level above.

Below lies the vaulted dungeon.

The Renaissance Loggia inspired by Italian architecture.

The private quarters with a fireplace ...

... great panoramas.

On the southern shores of the Tagus River used to be a replica of the Torre de Belem.

It is truely a beautiful structure...

... and with that we had to say good-bye to Lisbon.

July 23, 2008. We ride west along the Rio Tejo until it meets up with the Atlantic Ocean and then into the Serra de Sintra Range.

It is early in the morning and no traffic, the road winds its way to the western most point of mainland Europe.


The coastline is rugged and wind swept, but beautiful.

We continue through the Serra de Sintra to the World Heritage Town of Sintra, but decide to give it a miss. It is Europe, no worries we will be back.

By chance we come upon this massive palace as we head north on the N9. The PALACIO DE MAFRA.

It is a Baroque Palace & Monastery, located in the town of Mafra. The basilica is very impressive...

...with many sculptures. On the right is the Statue of St Bruno.

All the sculptures are by famous artists who trained at the Mafra School of Sculpture.

The palace is famous for its amazing library, which houses over 40,000 books in gold embossed leather bindings.

We set up camp on the coast 2km north of Nazare & ride to Portugal's largest church.


Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was founded in 1153.

The facade has marble statues of St Benedict.

The Central Nave is simple, but yet at the same time overpowering.

The vaulted ceiling and massive columns add to the medieval look.

The Sala dos Reis.

The walls are tiled with frescos that depict the founding of the abbey...

...and statues of the Portuguese kings stand high above.

The galleries are in keeping with the Cistercian.

The Dormitory.

The Cloister of Dom Dinis or Cloister of Silence.

The courtyards very similar to the ones we had seen in Lisbon.

The kitchen with its huge chimney.

Several basins are arranged around the kitchen...

...all nicely decorated.

A constant water supply came from a diverted stream.

How about having a stone table like this one in your house?

The Chapterhouse.

The Refectory. At the top of the staircase a monk would read from the bible ...

... while others ate in silence below in this area.

The Octagonal Lavabo. Monks used wash their hands at this fountain.

The Tombs of Pedro I & Ines de Castro.

The sarcophagus has integral details.

The Sacristy Doorway.

Several more sarcophagus are located in the church.

One last picture and we are back on the motorcycle heading inland...

... to the town of Batahla.

Another awe inspiring church of Portuguese Gothic architecture.

The Dominican abbey of SANTA MARIA DA VITORIA at Batalha.

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Portal is lined with religious motifs and statues of the apostles.

The main entrance is massive.

The impossing central Nave.

The Abbey started by Afonso Domingues in 1388 and completed by David Huguet.

Stained glass windows behind the choir date from 1514.

The Founder's Chapel. The tomb of Joao I & his wife Philippa of Lancaster.

They lie hand in hand.

The chapel is topped by an octagonal lantern.

The Royal Cloister.

Gothic Arches.

Stained glass windows.

The Chapterhouse. Today Guards keep watch by the Tomb of teh Unkown Solidiers.

Different sculptures.

Gears of a old clock.

The Lavabo, where the monks would wash their hands in this fountain (1450).

A few into the courtyard from the Royal Cloister with the Stork Tower in the background.

The monastery was built from plae limestone.

Gothic Arches.

The Unfinished Chapels. A Octagonal Mausoleum.

The tomb of King Duarte and Queen Leonor.

The Manueline Portal carved in 1509 by Mateus Fernandes.

July 24, 2008. After spending the night on a campground in Nazare, we head to TOMAR.

On the hill top overlooking the town of Tomar lies the CONVENTO DE CRISTO...

...founded in 1162 by the Grand Master of the Templars.

This church/convent differed from the previous two (2) as it was surrounded by large fortress like walls.

Entrance to the church is through the South Portal.

The Laundry Cloister.

The grand staircase to the south portal.

The ruins of the former royal quarters.

The ceiling in the New Sacristy.

The Charola, the nucleus of the monastery and Templars' oratory.

Biblical scenes are depicted on the frescos lining the archways and walls.

The gilted octagon, is definitely the highlight.

Beautiful restored frescos.

The layout is based on the Rotunda of Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre.

Spiral staircases lead to the Terrace of Wax.


The Terrace of Wax, where honeycombs were left to dry.

The Manueline Window.

The carvings are elaborate around this window.

Restoration is continues as mother nature is wearing away on these sculptures.

Marine motifs - Old Man of the Sea.

The entire convent is massive. Stairways lead to different quarters...

...there are so many rooms.

The old aqueduct can still be seen as it joins up with the Cloister of the Crows.

The Grand Dormitory.

The Count fo Tomar's Olive Oil Cellar.

Olive Oil was kept in these vases.

The Micha Cloister.

Bread was distributed among the poor in this courtyard.

Baker's Oven.

The Great/Main Cloister with a beautiful fountain in its centre.

The ruins of the Chapterhouse of friars and knights.