The good, the bad, and the ugly

This is tourism up close and personal. Today after a classic European breakfast we did a slow paced walking tour of Evora. Situated on a hill it occupies an important strategic site that commands the high ground. It has been occupied over the millennia by every dominant culture, each leaving their mark.

We began by touring the remains of a Roman temple and wall around the city.  From there, we visited the largest medieval Christian cathedral in Portugal. Dating from the 1200s, there are unusual treasures. Of particular note is the statute of a very pregnant Virgin Mary. One of my favorites is the painting of the last supper which includes the serving of a roast suckling pig.

We continues through the town of 10,000 and caught glimpses of 21st century life surrounded by ancient buildings. These scenes include the gathering of the retired ladies of Evora, and around a shaded bench in the town square, scores of cigarette butts among the cobble stones. A reminder of our smoking past

We ended our morning with an amazing visit to the meditation room in the cloisters of the Franciscan church. It is known as the chapel of bones and designed to remind all who meditate there that all our bones are the same, rich or poor, devout or unfaithful, it is our soul that distinguishes us from everyone else. It was a bit too macabre for most of us.

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