And our road trip through Portugal continues north!
After our stay in Sintra, we drove about an hour and a half to the city of Tomar. Tomar itself seemed like a very pleasant Portuguese city but we were really there to see the Castle and Convent of the Order of Christ. Dating back to 1160, this Unesco World Heritage Site was built as the headquarters of the Knights Templar and is considered one of the most important monuments in Portugal. It was so interesting to learn about this special piece of Portugal’s history and how it contributed to Age of Discoveries and global exploration.
Jason on the steps at the entrance to the church.
We arrived in the early afternoon and were pleasantly surprised to find very few visitors.
Details at the entrance. The castle and the convent are known for displaying several types of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance.
The grounds were much larger than I anticipated and we spent a few hours exploring the cloisters, interior rooms and gardens.
This chapter house window is known as one of the masterpieces of Manueline decoration, incorporating maritime elements and representations of the discoveries.
The most beautiful of the cloisters, which connected the dormitory of the monks to the church.
Entering the round church. Here the Knights Templar were initiated and are said to have attended Mass on horseback.
Dining area with solid marble tables.
Portuguese tile bench in the garden.
Looking through the castle walls.
View of the city of Tomar. When the town was founded, most of its residents lived in dwellings inside the outer walls of the castle.
The journey now takes us to Portugal’s famous wine country, the Douro Valley. Jason and I are not avid wine drinkers, but having seen photographs of this part of the country, I knew we had to see it. It was also within close proximity to several stages of the WRC rally.
We stayed in a great B&B in Armamar, the Casa da Farmácia. We had a lovely time here, the owner arranged a private wine tasting and set us up with an itinerary for the day. My kind of guy!
Armamar city center
Panoramic view of the Douro Valley
View from the Quinta de Santa Eufémia, where we had a wonderful Port wine tasting.
Boat tour on the Douro River
City of Pinhão from the boat tour, with complementary Port wine of course!
Picturesque vineyards line the Douro River. It’s a wonder to see and the entire area is also a Unesco World Heritage site.
Next post will be from the WRC Rally!