I took a day out of the walled city of Evora to visit the 8000 year old megaliths about 15 km outside of the town. There are 98 stones and they are in great shape as they were only discovered in 1964 so were not damaged by various marauders of the past who seems to have come this way. The are in pretty area and surrounded by cork trees – apparently Portugal produces 70% of the world’s cork but it is an expensive proposition as cork can only be harvested every 8 or so years at the moment – they are trying to speed this up as cork is in high demand – it doesn’t burn and it is very lightweight but durable.
The views looking back to Evora and the surrounding countryside are lovely once you can get up a bit higher and look down on the verdant plains. April is a great time to be there as everything is very green
Last stops were a winery (Alentejo is second only to the Douro valley for production of Portuguese wines) and then the picturesque hillside town of Monsaraz – perfect for a movie but it is all real.
A short side trip to the walled town Evora for three days gets me out into the countryside. I took the train – 1 hour and 40 minutes – which is a lovely way to travel. Accommodation was at the Albegaria do Calvario hotel just inside the city walls. Large rooms with an excellent breakfast and a 5 minute walk into the centre of town.
Evora has a lot to offer for a small place. Lovely buildings painted with red roofs painted white and yellow. There is a lot of debate about why yellow – some say to stop the evil eye, others say it replaces the old blue as blue and white are the colours of a rival football team. Who knows? Anyway the buildings plus the impressive aqueduct that runs right through the town and some of the houses, make for a pretty environment and that’s good enough for me .
Although this is a medieval town it is famous for its Roman Temple ruins which are slap bang in the middle of it and in pretty good nick
Add to the above some beautiful churches with lovely Portuguese tile work and the macabre Chapel of Bones (apparently they had to dig a load up from the cemetery as they needed to space for new houses so they put them into this chapel) with the enticing reminder “we bones that are here, we are waiting for your’s”. Nice!
Add a few museums with contemporary and traditional art plus some local food (that’s baked melted cheese a speciality around here)
And finally a special exhibit to hundreds of nativity scenes and I liked the funky irreverent modern ones the best!
All in all – well worth a visit for a quieter pace of life.