It was time to drag ourselves away from our “little heaven”___ onward and upward!! Farewell Amacao de Pera until we meet again!! Our favourite café barista, Leno, excitingly accepted our miniature koala & flag & said he has a collection of “items” from lots of countries and was happy to display one from Australia. He is a wonderful 20 year old Portuguese who would like to run his own café in the future. He seemed to have the passion, skill & friendly, outgoing personality that would be necessary too! As well as being our Portuguese “language tutor” he was a font of knowledge about the region.
Using Leno’s directions we drove inland to a beautiful waterfall where the locals visit. Also experienced a typical Portuguese lunch in a small village restaurant which he recommended.
It was here that we met Felipe – another wonderful Portuguese! Over a leisurely lunch he explained a lot about the local region to us. He works as a tree arborist and spoke excellent English. He was also able to assist us in ordering our meal as the staff didn’t speak English at all. Whilst talking to him over lunch we noticed he had icepacks on his hand and leg … he had just been stung by wasps in the tree he was trimming!! …. He was in no hurry to leave; the wine over lunch helped to dull the pain too!!
Driving out of our campismo two days later, we bump into Felipe again!! He noticed Aussie Bruce and came over for a chat!! He was keen to show us the special tree with ancient history – very rare in Portugal – behind the reception office. It was lovely to see him again. He has been on the SafetyQuip website and is referring friends in Australia to us!! As we waved him good-bye, we thought it was a fitting end to our stay in Armacao de Pera. Felipe, if you are reading this, it was lots of fun meeting you! Keep safe too!!
Onward and upward to Spooky Evora. The road to Evora (near Lisbon) was expensive. There are few GOOD roads in Portugal that are not tolled.
Driving from the Algarve coast towards Lisboa (Lisbon) was a choice of two main roads. Both tolled. There were many incomplete projects – evidence of the Soverign Debt Crisis that has befallen the Portuguese. There were at least a dozen bridges like this.
Sprouting out of picture perfect plains with olive groves and vinyards is the town of Evora. The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is a spooky chapel constructed of the bones and skulls of several thousand dead people. Built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who wanted to prod his fellow brothers into contemplation and transmit the message of life being transitory. This is clearly shown in the famous warning at the entrance “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” (“We, the bones that are here, await yours.”). It is quite confronting and you are not sure whether to stare in awe or turn away in shock. Spooky hey!! More photos here. http://aussiebruce.com/other-aussie-bruce-pages/the-bones-chapel-evora-portugal/
In the midst of a vast cork plantation near the town of Evora, and after many kilometres of corrugated dirt road, we were at the site of a “Almendres Cromlech” – “Stone Circle”. Around 6,000 years ago, the inhabitants of this arid plateau dragged nearly 100 gigantic granite stones to a sloping, dusty mound. They erected them in concentric circles.
Further info here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almendres_Cromlech