Portugal – Day 10 – Evora

Today I visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Evora. Evora’s history dates back over 5000 years ago, when the Lusitanians occupied the area. In 57 BC the Romans conquered the town, and built a wall around the town. The city was important for the Romans as it was the hub of several important trade routes. In 584 AD Evora came under the rule of Visigothic king Leovigild during the barbarian invasions. In 715 the city was conquered by the Moors, and was held until 1165 when Gerald the Fearless launched a surprise attack. The town then came under the rule of Portuguese king Afonso I the following year. Evora endured a few more attacks over the years, including The Battle of Evora in 1808, and the Liberal Wars in 1834. The city was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Evora has a variety of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance, and Baroque.

The train ride to Evora took about 1.75 hours, and cost $20 return. The train station in Evora is about a 10 minute walk away from the city center. The entire city is walkable, and cars are not really required. First stop was the Chapel of Bones, and the Sao Francisco Monastery, which share the same building.

The Chapel of Bones is a small chapel attached to Sao Francisco Monastery. The chapel gets its name because the interior walls are covered and decorated with human skulls and bones. The chapel was built by Franciscan monks, and its estimated that over 5000 corpses were exhumed to decorate the walls of the chapel.

Sao Francisco Monastery is a beautiful gothic church that was built in 1376. Much of the church fell apart over the years, and was extensively rehabilitated in 2014-2015.

Praca do Giraldo is the main square of Evora. Many restaurants have their tables setup in the middle of the square, so you can enjoy your lunch and people watch. The square was used during the Spanish Inquisitions in the 16th century, and was also the location of the execution of Duke of Braganza in 1484.

I was starting to get hungry, so I had a burger and fries at Taska da Su Aqueduto. The burger was quite mediocre, however the fries were excellent.

Agua de Prata Aqueduct is a stone aqueduct built in the 1530’s. The 18km aqueduct was designed by Francisco de Arruda.

The Roman Temple of Evora was built in the 1st century in honour of Augustus, who was venerated as a god during and after his ruling.

Construction of Evora Cathedral started in 1186, however it wasn’t completed until 1746. The first building was built between 1186 and 1204. It was expanded between 1280 and 1340 in Gothic style. In the 14th century Gothic cloisters were added. In the 16th century Esporao Chapel was added into Manueline style. Finally, in the 18th century the large Baroque style main chapel was completed. This cathedral is the largest mediaeval cathedral in Portugal.

Graca Church is an old church and convent that was constructed in 1511. It is currently used by the Portuguese Armed Forces.

The majority of the streets are very narrow, and most of the buildings are painted white and yellow.

I also saw some pretty neat murals by the train station.

After taking the train back to my hotel I did some work, blogging, relaxed in the pool, and went in the sauna.

The following day was spent relaxing at my hotel until it was time to check out, and then I took the metro to the airport to check-in to my new hotel; Hotel Star Inn Lisbon Aeroporto. I had pizza for dinner, and then had an early night, as I had a 6:30am flight the following day.

The first flight of the day was on an Easyjet Airbus A320 to London Gatwick. I had a four hour layover in London, which I spent editing photos and having a delicious chicken burger from Shake Shack. My second flight was on a Westjet Boeing 787-9 to Calgary. Both flights were turbulence free, and arrived half an hour early.

This concludes my Portugal series. I don’t currently have any more trips planned until the summer, however hiking season starts soon, so be sure to check back soon.

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Portugal – Day 7 – Lisbon

Today I spent more time exploring Lisbon. I started off with a breakfast sandwich and a coffee at Starbucks. I have to apologize for the poor colour balance on my photos today, as there was a massive sand storm that had blown sand all the way from Morocco. The sky was a bright orange colour, so I did the best I could to colour balance.

The Orion Eden Hotel is a former cinema, named Teatro Eden. This Art Deco style theatre was opened in 1931 and designed by Cassiano Brando and Carlo Florencio Dias, and was one of the city’s most important cinemas. The cinema closed in 1989 and was left in ruins until it was converted to the Orion Eden Hotel in 2001.

The Hard Rock Cafe sits not far from Teatro Eden, and is another former cinema that was called Condes Cinema. It was designed by architect Raul Tojal. This beautiful Streamine Moderne (a style of Art Deco) building has a streamlined corner, and a circular rooftop. The cinema closed in the 1990’s, and was left in poor shape until it was converted into the Hard Rock Cafe in 2003.

Avenida da Liberdade is one of the main boulevards in Lisbon, and has some of the most expensive shopping areas in Europe. The 90 metre-wide boulevard is 1100 metres long, and has ten lanes divided by pedestrian sidewalks, gardens, and a large amount of trees. The avenue was built in 1879, the site of a former park. There are some beautiful buildings that I saw along this beautiful boulevard.

The Rossio Railway station is Lisbon’s central train station. It was opened in 1891 and features a beautiful Neo-Manueline façade.

Praca Dom Pedro IV, also known as Praca do Rossio, is the main central square of Lisbon, and is known as the “heart” of the city. The square features a statue in the centre of Dom Pedro IV, however there’s an urban myth that the statue is that of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, and that after Maximilian’s assassination the statue was unwanted and sold to Lisbon cheaply, as both Dom Pedro IV and Maximilian had similar appearances.

The Queen Maria II National Theatre is a historical theatre that was built in 1842, and sits on the north side of Praca Dom Pedro IV square. The Neo-Classical building was designed by Fortunato Lodi.

Across from Praca Dom Pedro IV square is a restaurant called Nicola, and it features a beautiful Art Nouveau design in the front.

The International Design Hotel is a beautiful historic 4-star hotel located on the Southeast end of Praca Dom Pedro IV square. This Art Deco hotel was built in 1930, and was renovated last in 2009.

Animatografo do Rossio opened in 1907 as one of Portugal’s first cinemas. This beautiful Art Nouveau style building is definitely worth checking out. It’s facade is comprised of sculpted wood, and two panels of azulejos tiles (blue tiles). In 1994 the site was turned into a peep show venue.

The Santa Justa Lift, also known as Carmo Lift, is an elevator in the historic centre of Lisbon that connects the lower streets of Baixa with the higher streets of Carmo Square, which is 45 metres (148 feet above). The lift was opened in 1899, and is designed in a Neo-Gothic architecture style, comprised mostly of iron. The hills of Lisbon historically presented a problem for travel between the lower streets of Baixa with the higher streets of Carmo Square, and in 1874 an engineer named Roberto Armenio presented a project to the Lisbon municipal council to have rail-lines that would be pulled by animals up an inclined plane. In 1882, the council gave permission to explore alternative plans for an inclined transportation system moved by mechanical means. While the use of animals never occurred, the elevator was eventually approved in 1896, and opened in 1899.

The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a former Catholic convent located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior. The convent was ruined during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The monastery was originally founded in 1389. In 1407 the presbytery and apse of the church was completed. In 1423 residential areas were added the building. By 1551 the convent contained 70 clergy and 10 servants. In 1755 the earthquake hit and completely destroyed the library, and caused significant damage to the convent. Minor repairs to the monastery were carried out in 1800, with the roof being repaired during this time. Just ten years later the Police Royal guard occupied the site, which included the sharpshooter battalion, and the militia. In 1834 additional repairs were made to include the 3rd District Judge’s Law Court. The church was never fully rebuilt, and was rented out to a sawmilling shop. The buildings and site were eventually donated in 1864 to the Association of Portuguese Archaeologists, which turned the building into a museum. Between 1911 and 1912 the walls around the convent were reconstructed, with various arches build. In 1955 the facades and roofing of the garrison buildings was completed. In 1969, another earthquake hit, and curing the Carnation Revolution the convent was attached by rebels. This building just couldn’t catch a break!

Rue Garrett Street is another famous street in Lisbon, and is home to some of Lisbon’s most famous bookstores, including Livraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in the world, which was founded in 1732.

By then it was time to grab some lunch. I went out to Time Out Market, which is a massive food hall, to look around and see what there was to eat. I settled on a place called Ground Burger, and that certainly didn’t disappoint.

It was then time to go exploring again. First stop was The National Theatre of Sao Carlos, which was opened in 1793. It was slated as a replacement for the Tejo Opera House, which was destroyed in in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. This beautiful neoclassical building was designed by Portuguese architect José da Costa e Silva. The building took only six months to build, and has seating capacity for 1148 people spread over 5 tiers of boxes.

I then checked out another funky metro station called Chelas Station. It is one of Lisbon’s newer metro stations, and was opened before Expo ’98 started.

Here’s a few random photos I also took during the day that I quite liked.

I then went back to my hotel for a bit to do some work, as I had a few meetings, and then I went in the pool and sauna for a few hours.

I was getting hungry, so it was time to eat dinner. I didn’t want to walk far, so I settled on a place called Udon Noodle Bar & Restaurant. I chose to have a chicken ramen dish, and it was delicious.

Be sure to check back tomorrow, as I explore more of Lisbon.

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Chile – Day 6 – Travel Day & San Pedro De Atacama

Today we woke up at 5:15am because we had the airport shuttle departing for SCL Airport at 6:00am. Security was a total breeze which makes you wonder if they’re even looking at the screens or peoples tickets and passports. I recall when I travelled to Peru in 2014 with my father that there basically was no security for internal flights; this basically gives the same perception. We then purchased some Starbucks; I had a drip coffee and C had a Chai Tea Latte. Our 8:15am flight boarded quickly and we arrived at Calama Airport (CJC) at 10:50am.

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The day fell apart from here and it started with the Budget rental car agency. The rental car took almost three hours to figure out and we were given about ten different excuses as to where the car was, but it was obvious they were not prepared. I left a nasty 1 star review on Google Reviews during the whole process. While waiting for the car we talked with a bunch of people dropped off cars at other rental agencies and they said the entire park was closed due to flooding and heavy rain; which was not great news for us… more on that later! After finally leaving the airport at close to 2:00pm, three hours later we went to Lider (Walmart) and purchased water and a few groceries and started our adventure.

We drove one hour to San Pedro de Atacama and saw the Valley of the Moon from the top of road. The weather looked okay at this point in time and we had yet to see the flooding until when we drove into the town. That’s when things really changed… the roads were red mud and completely flooded. We drove to our hotel; Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas. The hotel was absolutely beautiful and we were greeted with Champagne. After checking in we decided to walk into town and get some dinner at Las Delicias de Carmen. We both ordered vegetable lasagna with a side of potatoes and quinoa. We were told the portion was large and could probably share it, but we didn’t heed to her advice… we should have though! While we were waiting for our meals to come out there was a torrential downpour and the power in the entire city shut off. Our server casually came over with a candle as if this were a regular occurrence. We ordered a thousand layer cake to go for C as it was her birthday. We wanted to have it while watching a movie back at the hotel, but sadly with no power there was no internet.

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We watched a previously downloaded episode of Marvelous Miss Maisel, the second last one before we’re all caught up. If you have not seen this series I highly recommend it! I came up with a plan B for tomorrow for us to explore Reserva Nacional Alto Loa. It was still raining, my cold was getting worse, and it was time to go to bed.

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