Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Bones – Campo Maior – Portugal 2004

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 11:10pm Sousel, Portugal

The days are sliding by now!  Finally mailed some postcards still need to send more tho.  Started the day early @ 5am with Mikes broken bed – he had to join me till proper morning.  Lucky these are “larger” single beds and we are still thin enough to fit 2 to a bed!  The girls at the front desk was embarrassed, but also could not help but laugh.

Breakfast on the patio was very nice.  Good selection and very tasty.  Headed to Campo Maior first.  Mike took some photos along the road.  Nice view of our Pousada and some cork trees.  The drive up the road to Campo Maior has some forest fires where they were cutting down burned trees at the roadside.

In Campo Maior we parked and walked around.  The first find was a church (iglasias) which turned out to be a religious artifact museum.  The girl was very helpful and supplied us with maps and directions (they don’t allow photos in museums and churches generally, so Mike was not allowed.  The robes and gowns and paintings were mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries.  One paintings was quite recent – 20th Century (1992) and was interesting – although nails were through the hands, Jesus was very detailed – every hair follicle visible.

Marble is everywhere from street side to door steps to bathroom walls.  Mostly pink and white from around here – grey is not generally found here.

Next we went to the castle – again we were the only one there (1st try was actually a school house).  History was interesting.  First building around 12-13oos with most fortification in 1600s.  There was a lighting strike into the powder magazine in 1732(?) and 1500 (according to the guide book) people died.  That is what sparked the chapel of bones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_Maior,_Portugal

The walls around the castle were similar to the ones in Elvas.  Pentagonal shape with outcrops at each point which made for great visibility.  The walls here were not as complete as those in Elvas (supposed to be one of the most complete in Europe) – but we decided to tour this one – more convenient in our day.  Also smaller and less popular.

Next to the Capela dos Ossos the church beside was open – very typical I expect.  The organist was playing – it was quite nice to sit in the peaceful surroundings.  Mike took a couple of photos – Lots of marble again – some Michael thinks would have been imported since it was dark grey.  The chapel beside was locked, no one around but you could see in – it was larger than I had expected.  Except for the floor, the entire inside was human bones.  Around the bottom, up to about 3 feet was skulls, plus more skulls in the ceiling and at the front.  Very morbid – not sure who would have had such a vision and actually make this chapel.  I get the impression the town folks play it down.  Although there are photos in the flyer, there are no directions or explanations.

Next to lunch – as recommended by a local.  Was quite good – Michael had the Pork (taking over for George) and I had beef with spaghetti.

Then off to Elvas Mike stopped enroute for some shots of the fire areas (I napped).  At Elvas we parked outside the wall and walked in.  Went through the shopping area – very good prices for bedding and towels.  Not sure if will buy some.  Cutlery seemed reasonable also. Went to the tourist info both got directions to the aqueduct (decided that was enough getting late).  Went for a cafe then saw the aqueduct – huge – only one piece remains here, but used to be 5 miles long – no wonder it took 124 years to build.  Bought some wine, beer, fruit liqueur.

Then back for our Pousada.  I broke the wine – big mess of shattered glass.  Dinner here 23E for complete meal – pricy, but expected it to be – quite good – wrong!  Soup (gazpacho) was good but no better than last night.  My pork tenderloin was anything but tender.  It was awful dry and tasteless.  Mike had venison ribs – I didn’t like the taste, but he thought they were okay.  Accompaniments were nothing great either. Dessert cheeses were nice – all very strong.  Other desserts were so so.

Back to bed about 11:30.  Star gazed a bit (saw a shooting star @ monte branco – but none here).  not as dark as I expected, but moon is getting full.

Thats takes me to this morning – time for breakie.  Mike has already been out photo taking (since 6:30am guess I need to get up – its 8:30 after all.  Boan Dias.

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