Évora

Évora is one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval towns, still partially enclosed by medieval walls.

Cathedral of Évora – built between 1280 and 1340.

The ruins of the Roman Temple of Évora – also known as Templo de Diana, after Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the moon, the hunt, and chastity.

Quaint streets with fabulous architecture.

Praça do Giraldo (Giraldo Square).

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graça – Church of Our Lady of Grace.

The Capela dos Ossos or ‘The Bones Chapel’.

The Bones Chapel was a prayer and meditation about human condition place of the Franciscans. The Chapel was built at the XVI century with bones of the graves of the town. At the entrance, on a classicist lintel in marble the following and very well-known inscription can be read: WE BONES THAT ARE HERE, WE ARE WAITING FOR YOURS. The interior is completely covered with human bones, has the solemn, gloomy and tragic atmosphere of a crypt. On the right of the altar, we can see the founders of the convent sarcophagus and the grace of the Biship Jacinto Carlos da Silveira, killed by the French soldiers of Napoleon, in 1808.

The streets in Évora are very narrow. I was sure we wouldn’t fit, but Marcus assured me we would! Turns out he was right… but it was pretty tight!

Sintra

Sintra was our first stop after Lisbon.

Pretty impressive bus stop!

Parque da Pena.

The Portuguese love their painted tiles! These were pretty.

I Hydrangeas and these are the biggest I have ever seen!

Palácio Nacional da Pena.

Archaeological students digging at Castelo dos Mouros.

Castelo dos Mouros.

Lisbon

Arriving to Lisbon was fun and ever so easy. We jumped on the Aerobus and headed to Rossio. We hopped off the bus and wondered for a moment where our hotel was, only to look right in front of us and there it was – 3 metres from the bus stop! Our hotel room overlooked Rossio, which I later found out ONLY referred to the square we were staying at rather than the whole area, which is what I had thought it was called!

This is the view of Rossio from our hotel room. Rossio is the nickname for Praça de Dom Pedro IV. The statue to the left of the image is of Dom Pedro. He was a king of Portugal.

We also had a fabulous view of Castelo de São Jorge.

The local tram.

Dom Pedro.

Fountain in front of Teatro Nacional D. Maria II.

Rua Augusta. Cobbled streets are pretty, but not so pretty to walk on! This street has a Zara store on almost every corner.

Rossio by night.

Elevador de Santa Justa is an Eiffel Tower lookalike in Baixa/Chiado. It was built at the turn of the century by the Portugal-born French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard (an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel). It’s on the to do list for next visit.

You’ll never go without food in Portugal. They love to eat, drink and be merry – especially coffee and cakes! Yum.

We caught the rickety old tram up the steep hills to Castelo de São Jorge. The trams are only small but they cram as many people on them as possible!

View of the San Francisco bridge in Lisbon from Castelo de São Jorge.

Castelo de São Jorge.

The Triumphal Arch on Rua Augusta looking out to Praça do Comércio.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém.

Inside the main chapel.

Belém is considered to be Lisbon’s most historical area. It was from here that many of the great Portuguese explorers embarked on their voyages of discovery including the first voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama to discover the sea route to India, and Christopher Columbus stopped here on his way back to Europe after discovering the New World. It is also where the first Portuguese Tart was served!

The monument to the Discoveries.

Torre de Belém.

Tintern Abbey

The last part of our adventure in England included driving down by the River Wye. It was beautiful and very different to what we had seen so far. As we drove down to the river, out pops this massive old ruin of Tintern Abbey.

Tintern Abbey was founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on 9 May 1131. It is situated in the village of Tintern, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye in Monmouthshire, which forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England. The present-day remains of Tintern are a mixture of building works covering a 400-year period between 1136 and 1536. The first Mass in the rebuilt presbytery was recorded to have taken place in 1288, and the building was consecrated in 1301, although building work continued for several decades. The abbey is built of Old Red Sandstone, of colours varying from purple to buff and grey.

There is a theory that the chapel at Tintern Abbey was a separate building alongside the two foreshortened windows of the South aisle, of which foundations were revealed during an excavation in 1904/5.

Tintern Abbey is an impressive place. The photos don’t do it justice and it definitely looks bigger in person!

Bath

This gorgeous honey-stoned city is known for its architecture. Along its stately streets you’ll find Roman bathhouses, a grand medieval abbey and some of the finest Georgian terraces anywhere in England. Interestingly enough, Bath has so many listed buildings the entire place has been named a World Heritage Site by Unesco!

It is thought that prehistoric peoples probably knew about the hot springs in the town because legend has it that King Bladud (a trojan refugee and father of King Lear) founded Bath about 2800 years ago when his pigs were cured of leprosy by a dip in the muddy swamps. The Romans established the town of Aquae Sulis in AD 44 and it was then that they built the large bath complex and a temple to the goddess Sulis-Minerva.

The bubbles in the water are the hot spring.

Water from the hot spring.

The Anglo-Saxons then arrived and in AD 944 a monastery was founded on the site of the Bath Abbey. On the outside of the Abbey is the west facade where angels are seen climbing up and down stone ladders, commemorating a dream of the founder, Bishop Oliver King.

The Royal Crescent & the Circus is the city’s main attraction for terraces. The Royal Crescent is a semicircle of terraces that overlook a private lawn and the Royal Victoria Park. The houses here were built between 1767 and 1775 and would have originally been rented for the season by wealthy socialites. These days flats are keenly sought after and entire houses rarely come up for sale. I’m sure they’d be worth a mint too!

The Circus is a ring of 30 symmetrical houses divided into three terraces.

If your ideal image of an English city is one of architectural delight, quaint little cafe’s and lovely gardens then Bath should be on the top of your list of places to go in England.

Stonehenge

This compelling ring of monolithic stones is considered to be Britain’s most iconic archaeological site. It is also one of their greatest archaeological mysteries: despite countless theories about what the site was used for, ranging from a sacrificial centre to a celestial timepiece, no one really knows what drove prehistoric Britons to spend so much time and effort on its construction.

The first phase of construction started around 3000 BC, when the outer circular bank and ditch were erected. A thousand years later, an inner circle of granite stones, known as bluestones, was added. It’s thought that these mammoth blocks were hauled all the way from South Wales. How they managed that in the Stone Age with the simplest of tools beats me!

Around 1500 BC, Stonehenge’s main stones were dragged to the site, erected in a circle and crowned by massive lintels to make the trilithons (two vertical stones topped by a horizontal one).

Despite all of the photos you see, it is in the most random spot – It sits beside the A303 to Salisbury so it has a very steady flow of traffic beside it!

How beautiful are the rolling hills of Salisbury Plains?

Note for the photog nerds: I ♥ my 10-22mm lens… clearer & better colours!

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor, England. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it has been used by a succession of monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The inside is pretty impressive, but they don’t allow you to take photos.

A view of the Round Tower on top of the Motte in the middle ward.

The South Wing of the Upper Ward. The Official Entrance to the State Apartments (the Queen’s weekend residence) is not shown, but is to the left of the picture.

An image of St George’s Chapel in the Lower Ward.