Évora, Portugal: here come pictures from the last two nights… starring my old pal from The Berkeley Years, Alberto Rosa. I don’t remember having seen him since, and here’s his Mama, Aldegice.
With Alberto Rosa and his Mom.
Évora has had it’s eras of great prosperity and eras of decline.
As LP says ‘Ironically, as in many other well-preserved ancient cities, it was decline itself that protected Évora’s very fine old center – economic success would have led to far greater redevelopment. Today the population is smaller than it was in the Middle Ages.’
In one of the enclosed patios.
Originally there were many separate buildings around a central courtyard and breezeways between them but Aldegice closed in the breezeways about ten years ago to make it easier to use the house in bad weather.
These patio-rooms are so lovely with tile floors and floor to ceiling windows looking one side into the courtyard and one side out to the country.
Alberto had to watch a soccer game at his favorite football tavern… I decided to go for a little look-around so I got dropped off at the walls of the city and I wandered about for a couple hours.
My ‘wandering about’ hours exactly coincided with the siesta closing so I didn’t manage to go in and see the Bone Church (actually a separate chapel beside a grand church that was completed around 1510) where the bones and skulls of thousands of people were artfully displayed by 17th century Franciscan monks, for your careful consideration. ‘An inscription over the entrance translates as ‘We bones await yours’.’
Templo Romano: dating from the 2nd or 3rd century ‘the best preserved Roman monument in Portugal…commonly referred to as The Temple of Diana…how did it manage to survive in such good shape for some 18 centuries?
‘The temple was apparently walled up in the Middle Ages to form a small fortress, and then used as the town slaughterhouse. It was only rediscovered late in the 19th century.’
A tavern stop! Check out the notice of a poetry reading by Alberto Rosa Poet Extraordinaire. He made the posters, put them around town, and did this reading in front of the Public Library the weekend before I came.
Alberto said he read many of the poems in English and the attendees mostly did a lot of drop-jawed staring.
Next morning we’re off to visit the grave of Alberto’s father.
This is the village of Monsaraz, population around 1,000. ‘Settled long before the Moors arrived in the 8th century, Monsaraz was subsequently recaptured by the Christians…and given to the Knights Templar as thanks for their help. The castle was added in 1310.’
Aldegice has a second dwelling on the property where she is letting a Moldavian family live while they get settled in Portugal. They seem very sweet and good people to have around when you’re 83 and live alone in the countryside.
It was the Orthodox Easter Sunday! ‘The Moldavians’, as the family is known, brought over a feast for everyone to enjoy. What an unexpected and delightful end to my visit here!