So glad we decided to come to this charming medieval walled in city, Evora. Narrow cobbled stone streets lined with white stucco homes outline in mustard yellow and sometimes pale blue, red-tiled roofs, blue and white tiles, wrought iron balconies. All eventually leading into the wide open main square with its elegant facades and fountain and last night a huge local orchestra playing a concert that started at 9:45 pm on a Sunday.
The 2,000 year old roman temple is on the highest group, flanked by the Gothic cathedral and a stunning Pousada (state-run posh hotels here). The University was also astonishing, with its classrooms lining a large courtyard, each room with blue and white tiles, some themed to match the courses taught in them. We also visited the Chapel of Bones, god knows how many monks skulls and femurs cover the walls and even line the buttresses. The skeletons apparently have been temporarily removed, which was fine with me. Spooky enough.
We had a good meal at Restaurant 1/4 to 9— black-eyed beans with tuna in a light oil and lemon sauce, then a pot of shrimp and clams in broth full of bread that the waiter mixed with zest. The result was like eating very moist stuffing with seafood. Very filling and delicious.
Today, we tried some local pastries at Cafe Arcade, shopped along rue 5 outré, (who knew you could make shoes, purses and book jackets out of cork?).
We drove to several hill towns in the Alijento region, the most spectacular is Monsaraz, a walled town high above a river valley on he border with Spain. There are about two main lanes, no cars, all stone pavement lined with loved white-washed cottages with purple and red flowers spilling over walls. When we got to the remains of the castle’s limestone ramparts we climbed some metal steps to get to the top and were astonished to suddenly be inside a bull fighting ring. No fights today but apparently they are held occasionally.
Tonight was dinner in Evora at a five-table place (all five advance booked) called Taquinha d’ Oliviera, which lived up to the hype. We ate only one of the appetizers placed on our table (custom here is if you eat, you pay) marinated chickpeas with fish and then Dirck had pork and clams, I had lamb and potatoes. Nicely done.
We love the little hip guest house we are staying at — Evora Inn Chiado Design. The front door is a humble affair that is easy to miss in the main arcade near the main square but after walking up several flights we found reception and a few flights up ,our little room with little touches of mod well-chosen furnishings and French doors that we have opened. My view past our wrought iron balcony is of red curved tile roofs and white buildings and the cathedral set against a sunset. Hard to beat that.