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Showing posts from June, 2016

Reminders of the Age of Discovery in Belém

Padrão dos Descobrimentos  Belém, on the banks of the Tagus River, hosts a multitude of attractions, so many in fact, that it would be hard to see them all in a day. But walking along the banks of the Tagus River will give one a preview of the Age of Discovery. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos or the Monument of the Discoveries is a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Age of Discovery when Portuguese explorers roamed the "unknown" world and brought untold riches back to their native shores. On the ship shaped monument are Prince Henry the Navigator followed by personalities who had a hand in the discoveries. On the northern flank are King Alfonso V, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, Bartolomeu Dias and St. Francis, among others. Two interesting figures on the southern flank, which can be seen on the image above, are Luis Vaz de Camões, Portugal's national poet and a woman, Queen Philippa of Lancaster, the mother of Henry and the brain of the discoveries.

Wine and Olive Oil Tasting

The Alentejo wine region is situated east of the Tagus river and north of the Algarve region in southern Portugal. The vineyards have been here before the Roman era. After the phylloxera epidemic ravaged the vines followed by two world wars, the vintners in the region were encouraged to grow wheat and grain instead of grape vines so as to provide food for a nation gripped by an economic crisis. But slowly viticulture was restored toward the end of the 1940s. Today, there are over 250 wine producers in the Alentejo region and one of them is Herdade do Esporão. The vineyards of Esporão grow about 40 grape varieties and 4 types of olives.  Esporão also owns vineyards in other parts of Portugal including the Douro Valley.   About 73 vintners participate in the wine tourism program of the Alentejo region and are open for tours and wine tasting. Check the Alentejo wine route at for more information. Barrel Tunnel and Cellars The tunnel is 15 meters wide and extends 12 met

Évora, a Storied City

Temple of Diana After days of rain, I finally got a healthy dose of Vitamin D while exploring the old town of Évora. The blue sky above this Roman temple from the 2nd century can attest to that. Fourteen granite Corinthian columns of the original eighteen have withstood the ravages of time. Meanwhile, time has given archaeologists fodder to believe that this temple may have been dedicated to Emperor Augustus and not to Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt and of Fertility. Food for thought: Not everything we believed to be true yesterday may not hold water today? Hmmmm. Praça do Giraldo and the Igreja de Santo Antão Who would have thought that this peaceful plaza surrounded by whitewashed townhouses with wrought iron balconies and graceful arched passageways was once the site of public executions during the Inquisition? It's noon and the folks have gone home to eat lunch leaving the plaza to a few wandering souls. Nossa Senhora do O This 15th century statue is

8 Images from the Church of São Roque in Lisbon

Igreja de Sao Roque The Church of São Roque has been designated as the Jubilee Church with a Holy Door of Mercy during this Jubilee of Mercy year (December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016). Please check my post about Lisbon for more information.