city breaks, évora, portugal, small towns, travel

Day Trip to Évora

May 5, 2016

On my recent trip to Portugal, my sister and I decided to do an unconventional day trip to the World Heritage site city of Évora. It was probably the rainiest, dreariest day we had in Portugal but the beauty of this strange city we knew hardly anything about drew us in and made this day of one our favourites.IMG_3348After a weird morning of stepping inside any building to shelter from the rain resulting in a free art gallery experience, a lot of Church visits and an impulse buy from a shop selling notebooks, we ended up on the outskirts of the city, following the aqueduct. There, we saw two men masturbating in their cars (is that a Portuguese thing, or just a thing?), a dog, a whole heap of snails of the living and dead variety and a pretty church but it wasn’t what we were looking for. At this point, we accepted the fact we might be lost and turned back for the city.We ended up stepping inside any museum we could find. I think we went to a museum of drains? Water? I don’t know but the whole thing was a room with a great blue water pipe in the middle. It was getting a bit ridiculous. Why couldn’t we find any of the main Évora attractions?Finally, we saw some hope in the form of a big cathedral and headed towards it. It was just after midday at this point and we’d already killed a good few hours snail dodging and shielding our eyes from the bright, white houses and ahem, other things. It was about time we saw some sign of life.And then, it all happened at once. Outside the cathedral, we saw the Roman Temple I’d been complaining about all morning, “it’s so big, how can we be missing this?” It was pretty magnificent and worth the wait.We then stopped for a break inside the Museu de Évora, a charming museum full of architectural artifacts and art.Then, we visited the Cathedral which was one of my favourite places to visit in Évora. If you don’t know by now, I’m obsessed with finding a good Church to climb and this one didn’t disappoint. Unlike the other churches I’ve visited, this one didn’t seem to have any form of precaution and you could quite easily jump off the edge is you wanted to. There’s also nobody stopping you from doing silly things like this:The Cathedral tower ticket came with a trip into the monastery. You can climb that too, although the staircases are hidden in the walls and not easy to see. Again, there’s nothing from stopping you hurling yourself off the top if you so desired.We visited the Cathedral itself and the Church’s museum. Although, by this point, we had already seen a lot of religious art and were getting quite sick of it.We made our way out into the main square in Évora and had a cup of tea in the centre and watched a group of elderly singers serenade us. It’s hard to imagine that the square was one of the focal locations for the Spanish Inquisition centuries before. It’s also hard to believe we managed to get so lost at the beginning of the day because everything in Évora is so central. Still, we had one place to visit on my bucket list and that was the Bone Chapel so we set off in search. Thank goodness for the free wifi in the main square so we could google directions. Unfortunately, this was not a day to be finding things and we ended up in a pop-up art gallery instead. It was nice, but not what we were looking for.Finally, we made it to our destination and would you have guessed, we ended up in one of the Churches we wandered into earlier that day. The Bone Chapel was amazing and definitely one of the highlights from the day trip.Overall, I’d certainly recommend Évora, particularly the Bone Chapel and the Cathedral. I’d also recommend getting lost because that usually makes for the best stories.

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