Saturday, April 9, 2016

Thursday April 7, 2016 – Douro Valley to Tomar, Porugal

This morning we enjoyed a leisurely time at our hotel.  It was nearly 10:00 by the time we had breakfast and were ready to leave the hotel.  The breakfast area is over the river with beautiful vineyards across the river - a perfect way to begin the day. Today we are leaving the beautiful Douro river valley and the Douro wine country.  As we left town we had to snap another couple of photos around another corner – the scene just begged for another photo.  The sun was shining and the weather was lovely, however we spent most of the day in the car.

Cherry Trees with the White Blossoms

We are making our way back toward Lisbon, as by Friday afternoon we are flying back to Amsterdam.  Portugal is not a large country and if we had to, we could drive the whole way to Lisbon today, but we are only going part of the way.
We have selected to visit the city of Tomar as our final stop in Portugal. On the way to Tomar we did take the long way around so we could see more of the eastern part of the county.  At first it was more mountainous, and we kept climbing in altitude to a city that is the highest point in Portugal.  We even saw two snowcapped mountain ranges. After we descended in altitude we came to the area where there are terraced groves of cherry trees, which are currently in bloom.  One of the unique alcohol drinks for which Portugal is known is Ginja, a sour cherry liquor.  We have seen some cherry trees, but not the quantity needed to produce the amount of liquor consumed. 
The city of Tomar has a monastery and castle - a UNESCO World Heritage site. We arrived early enough this afternoon to visit the castle which will allow us to have a more relaxing time tomorrow morning, before we drive to the airport. 
Wow! This Castle and Monastery is one huge complex. The nave of the chapel is one of the most decorative and unique.  We have seen a lot of cathedrals, chapels, and churches on this trip. It is easy to see why Tomar has the UNESCO designation.  
Tomar Castle

Tomar Cathedral

Small Chapel

Chapel Tiles

Tile design in the Chapel

Entering the Sanctuary

One of the Cloisters

Walkway around the Cloister

Cafeteria Area for the Monks

We did not have a hotel when we came into Tomar so we asked one of the security personnel at the Castle, which hotel she would recommend.  She told us about the ‘best’ they have.  Yes, it was very nice and yet the rate was reasonable. We are not in high tourist season which has allowed us to enjoy very nice hotels at reasonable rates.
Our Hotel

For dinner we walked to the ‘old town’ part of Tomar.  We decided we need to return to this area in the morning to enjoy the charm of the narrow side streets.
River flowing through Tomar

Tomar Cathedral in city center

Tomar Aquaduct

Our Final Dinner Together

Rachel with Headdress worn during City Celebration

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