Monday, July 6, Evore, Portugal

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The view from the rooftop of my hostel in Evore. Imagine a medieval city, complete with circumvallating stones and Roman aqueduct. That’s Evore here in Central Portugal.

The Lonely Planet description convinced me to head east toward this ancient city about two hours by bus from Lisbon. Tomorrow I’m on an archeological tour or “megaliths”. The weather here, absent the oceanic tempering, is hot, 35 degrees Celcius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). And there is barely a blade of grass or a tree in this cobblestone town. But the evening temps are delicious. I spent an hour just basking in the beauty and coolness of our rooftop.

NIght time in Evore.
NIght time in Evore.

My last day in Lisbon was a bust. I rented a bike and took a ferry across the wide Tagus River to what was described to me as the surfer beaches. It was a challenging trip as a large hill was between me and my goal, but I made it. Once there I found a massive beach filled with thousands of folks working on their tans–with an occasional trip into the water. What I quickly realized is that I couldn’t get into the water myself. The area for laying out your towel was at least a hundred meters from the water. Where was I to put my wallet and other valuables? There just wasn’t any way I could safely store my belongings and enjoy the surf.

2015-07-05 13.13.29I did have one odd experience on my way back to Lisbon. I stopped for lunch confronting a menu entirely in Portuguese. I knew enough to be able to distinguish meat and fish categories but I had no idea what might make a good meal. The waitress recommended a fish dish called provo, which she brought me.  Odd fish, I thought when I looked down at a circular mass of flesh covered with little spines. I knifed into it. It tasted acceptable though it was covered in a greasy sauce that I didn’t like. It was only after about a dozen bites that I realized I was eating octopus. Not the best thing I ever ate, but passable.

I also passed this vessel on the Lisbon side of the river. I don’t know the story behind it but can guess that it’s some sort of tourist gimmick. It is amazing to think that Vasco de Gama went to India in one of these(this one, however, seemed to have an inboard motor):

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I’m not sure you couldn’t sail this thing on Lake Merritt in Oakland.

I watched the World Cup final but almost went to bed after the first 16 minutes.

And the Greeks voted No, a sensible thing, I think. Go back to the drachma (I might still have a few of those at home from the 70’s). Let the German banks bellyache.

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Jerry Heverly

I'm a high school English teacher from San Leandro High School in California.

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