Thursday, September 15, 2011

Traveling in Portugal

Just a note to remind myself where I have been for the last week. Starting off in Toledo, it was west to Caceres and Merida. From Merida, it was into Portugal, staying first at Coimbra, site of one of Portugal's most important univerisites. Then, on to Aveiro for a little "R & R" on the beach. Aveiro is a pretty town with canals that the Portuguese liken to Venice. The canals are not as extensive as Venice's, but they are a nice centerpiece to the ancient downtown. Aveiro also hosts many beautiful churches, including the Catedral Se and Miseriacordia. The Miseriacordia especially uses tiles in both its exterior and interior decorations.

By Wednesday, we were ready to drive north through Porto and onto Braga, a religious center for all of Portugal. The Portuguese say that they play in Lisabon, work in Porto, and pray in Braga. The disrepair of many of the buildings in Braga suggests to me that the Bragans should pray a little less and work a little mor. Still, a visit to the Dom do Jesu with its beautiful view of Braga from the top of a hillside and the stariway that leads up to the church is inspiring.

Eventually, we stayed the night in Guimaraes, birthplace to the nation of Portugal. The massive castle inside the city is where, in the 12th century, Porutgal's first king, Alfonso Henriques rose to power. Again, there are many beautiful churches to view and a historic city center to wander.

Next it is onto Santiago in Spain's remote northern province of Galatia.

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