The young couple slept in the back, missing several scenic towns topped by castles, and arrived at our hotel in Evora at 6:00, which was right within the old town. This was a beautiful hotel, where we were greeted by a perfect English-speaking young woman, who sat us down on a couch and brought us wine and beer and showed us where everything was on the map.
Our rooms were pretty exquisite and we settled in before walking out in the still substantial heat to make our way to Evora’s best site – the columns of a Roman temple. Dan has never met a Roman ruin he didn’t love and he was ecstatic walking around the temple as the sun scenically set behind it.
The Templo de Diana is considered as the best preserved Roman temple on the Iberian Peninsular, it was protected from destruction as it was incorporated into Evora Palace, and later used as a barn storing wood!
The temple is named after the Roman goddess Diana but when it was constructed in the 1st century it was actually dedicated to Augustus – the emperor who created a cult regarding himself.
Due to its well-preserved old town center, still partially enclosed by medieval walls, and a large number of monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network
We headed to a recommended wine bar where we did wine tasting and discussed our places we’d been and learnings we’d learned, as we were getting into our philosophical end-of-trip mood.
Elly and Dan went back to their room, while Sarah and Eitan went to dinner, closing out the penultimate day of our travels.
Our Evora hotel served the best breakfast of the trip. It had everything, all fresh and reputedly organic in a lovely room with very friendly workers. Eitan reported to Elly and Dan that Sarah had woken up crying. At least, Eitan has learned to correctly label the strange phenomenon he doesn’t understand involving water mysteriously dripping out of eyes down cheeks.
After the great breakfast, we went out in the rapidly warming town and walked to the Roman baths, which were remarkable in that they were housed in a building of offices and public computers with wifi. So, this was clever integration of antiquities with modernity.
In 1987 workers performing works at City Hall (Patios del Concello) of Évora (Portugal) discovered ancient relics of Roman baths. The baths had several different spaces always organized in 3 different areas: hot, warm and cold. The Romans took their hot baths in a circular room called Laconicum, which was very well preserved.
Back to the great hotel to pack up and off we went to a menhir site Eitan had found. Stay tuned….
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Do you know where cork comes from? The Oak Cork Tree!!
This tree forms a thick, corky bark. Over time this bark can develop considerable thickness and this is harvested every 10–12 years as cork. The harvesting of cork does not harm the tree and a new layer of cork regrows, making it a renewable resource. Portugal accounts for 50% of the world cork harvest.
A tree can be harvested a dozen times in its lifetime and this is done entirely without machinery!!!!