With a couple of free days left before my meeting started, our plan for today was to head to Evora, about 80 miles east of Lisbon, to see its ossuary and the megalithic monuments for which it is known. After a slow start to the morning, I answered some emails while Dan went out to forage for provisions. At around 11, we checked out of our hotel and walked up to the square to catch a cab to the bus station. We got our tickets and were on the bus in about 15 minutes. It was a comfortable ride, about 90 minutes, past lots of cork oaks, eucalyptus, and olive trees.
The bus station in Evora is just outside of town walls, and it was a quick ride from there to our hotel. The woman at reception was very kind and helpful, offering us restaurant suggestions for dinner. She asked us if we like vegetarian food: “Here in Evora it is pork, pork, pork!” After helping us arrange a tour guide for the megaliths the next day, she called over to the nearby Cafe Alantejo, to see if they will still serve us a late lunch – they will if we go now now now! And so we hustled across the square and sit down quickly.
It was a good lunch, with a sharp, aged sheep’s cheese offered with bread, roasted peppers and olives on the table when we sat down; salty, garlicky, yummy. We shared another very nice liter of sangria branca. Dan chose a braised pork and potato dish, and I got mixed pork ribs, some roasted and some braised, served with migas, a local specialty something like steamed bread stuffing with shredded asparagus.
After lunch, it was a short walk to the 17th century Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) that is part of the Igreja de Sáo Fancisco. The decoration of this small chapel is made up mainly of human bones from about 5,000 individuals. Like other ossuaries, the chapel offers an opportunity to reflect on the impermanence of our human experience. In all honesty, I find them to be pretty creepy, but Dan finds them fascinating, and we had previously visited the Capuchin Crypt in Rome together.
When we were done seeing the chapel, we had a nice wander through the walled part of the old town, looking for a restaurant we wanted to try for dinner. It was not open, but it was a pleasant stroll nonetheless, with many good doors and mail slots, and lovely old churches to appreciate. I was feeling pretty wiped out this afternoon, so we stopped for a cold drink in a small square.
A small bottle of proper Coca-Cola can have almost magical powers to revive me when I hit the late-afternoon wall on a hot day after a lot of walking. We decided to go looking for the Roman temple, which became a bit of a slog as we kept getting lost. We did finally find it, and I’m sorry to say that I found it a bit underwhelming, which had a lot more to do with my fatigue that it’s own merits. We were there just in time to catch a tiny bit of the setting sun on the temple, then we sat down to watch the sunset from the adjacent park before walking back to our hotel. It was only about 8, but neither of us felt like going out again for dinner; Dan went straight to bed. I took a call for work, then snacked on some leftover pastries, downloaded my photos, and turned in.