Wednesday, July 8, Evora & Monsaraz, Portugal

One thing that Mario told me yesterday, that I forgot to relate, is that the Portuguese loooovvvveee Prez Obama. I find that refreshing.

I fought through some enervating heat to take a day trip to Monsaraz today. It’s your typical walled, fortified castle on top of a hill to keep the Spaniards at bay. It wasn’t a big place but since it was built in the 14th century it had an automatic appeal to someone like me.

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This enclosed space within Monsaraz is supposedly a bull ring. At least that’s what the internet says.
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This is the view westward from the castle in Monsaraz. Straight ahead, across the river, is Spain.
The Village of Monsaraz
This little village–now just restaurants and tourist shops—is the village that stands immediately north of the castle.

Tomorrow I’m moving on. I changed my plans. Instead of heading into Spain I’m going directly south to the small town of Mertola. I’ll be there two days then I head to the Algarve, the southern coast of Portugal. Lonely Planet lists a bunch of eco-tours and naturey stuff that sounds interesting.

I still haven’t heard from the Lonely Planet folks about whether I’m approved for their nine day trek into the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. There’s burro riding and bike riding and a few other things that might test me physically. They may look at my age and veto my application.

For my own benefit I want to record the books I’ve read so far on this trip:

1. A More Perfect Universe, the story of Copernicus and the effort to get his observations published.

2. 33 Days, by Leon Werth, the true story of his attempt to flee Paris in the summer of 1940 as the Nazi’s approached. It’s a story I’ve been fascinated by since I first read about it in William Shirer’s history of the period. {Among those fleeing with Werth was France’s Prime Minister, Reynaud, accompanied by his crypto-Nazi mistress.}

3. Nowhere Man by Alexandar Hemon, a novel about a fellow who lived in Sarajevo during the break up of Yugoslavia. The story follows him as he migrated to the US just before all hell breaks loose in 1992.

4.  The Planets by Dava Sobel. A ‘biography’ of all the planets (plus our moon) in this universe.

5.  Fair Stood the Wind for France by H.F. Bates a novel about a British bomber crew whose plane went down over occupied France in 1943.

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Jerry Heverly

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

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