Thursday, October 15, 2015

Batalha, Alcobaça, and random

Last week was only really notable because I went on an adventure looking for fabric stores in Lisbon. Before starting my search I first stopped to have lunch at a Goan restaurant. I had never had Goan food, and it was something I came wanting to try. Not sure if what I ate was the #1 best place to start, but it was undoubtedly very good. The owner's son of the place I went convinced me to try this dish called Sarapatel. Now, those of you who know me will probably be surprised that I agreed to order this, but I thought, what the hell? Sarapatel is a spicy stew made completely with (in this case) pork offal. The meat was cut into little chunks, so I could forget what I was eating for the most part except a few times when I would be reminded by some weird lump with a strange texture or taste. Good... don't think I would order it again though given a choice of other things. The place was "Delicias de Goa" and they were very nice people there.

Anyways, I ended up visiting two fabric stores and multiple "retrosarias" in the Baixa neighborhood which are little shops that sell all sorts of odds and ends like buttons, trim, yarn/string, etc. More on this later since they had some of the most beautiful buttons and trim and I will definitely be back buying. 

Anyways, the next day the same friend who I went to the monastery in Tomar with now wanted to go to two more monasteries, one on a town called Batalha and another in Alcobaça. We didn't leave until Saturday so she thought it was best to leave on the 7 am bus (yes, I let her do all the planning for us both). This meant waking up at 5 am on Saturday ughh. The bus ride wasn't horrible but it was very cold and rainy all weekend and the bus ended up having no heating. 

We went to Batalha first to see the monastery there. Unfortunately I didn't take a great picture of the outside but here it is:

Design of the front portal (you can tell I have been to too many churches/monasteries when I automatically call the entrance the "portal"):

 Tomb of King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster:

Oddly proportioned statue:

Creepy dead Jesus statue:

  The Monastery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 1914-1918 (there is always an honorary guard on either side of it) Here is a video of them changing the guard on Youtube, it seems a little weird to me: (

A really cool part of this monastery is the "Unfinished Chapel"... It was built almost completely except the roof was never put on so it is open to the sky:

I just wish I was this guy:

We had a really mediocre lunch and then hopped on a local bus which would take us to Alcobaça where Daniela had booked us a room at this really awesome hostel called Hostel Rossio. This hostel was brand new, had really cool decorations along with a really nice, fully equipped kitchen, a deck, and a nice TV room. We were the only ones in the whole place so we had tons of privacy, it was amazing.
We didn't go see the monastery the first day, instead walking around town. Alcobaça is a really cute little place, somewhat touristy but not overwhelming. We went to a fabric store and ended up buying some fabric printed with designs made for that region. We *ALMOST* bought some cortiça bags, because one shop had a good selection and wasn't as expensive as a lot of the other stores we had been too, however I had just spent a bunch of money of fabric and my friend convinced me not to. I wish I had though, they had some really good over the shoulder purses but I'm sure I will see something like it again at some point so no worries. For those who don't know what cortiça is, it's Portuguese for cork, and products made from cork like bags, hats, shoes, etc. are a really popular thing to buy in tourist areas:

Here are the few pictures I took from the town:

Retard condoms

The next day we went to the Cistercian monastery in  Alcobaça which was right outside out hostel:

It was commissioned by the first king of Portugal, Alfonso Henriques in 1153.
Inside were the tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro. These two are famous because of their love affair. Inês was from the royal Castilian family and came as a maid to Pedro's Castilian wife when Pedro fell in love with her. When Pedro's wife died, his father, King Alfonso IV, tried to get him to remarry but he refused because of his love. Eventually Inês was murdered by King Alfonso IV when the pair refused to separate. She was posthumously pronounced queen when Pedro claimed he had married her before her death.

Pedro's tomb has a mastiff at his feet which is supposed to represent loyalty:

The back of his tomb has a wheel of fortune:

The tomb of Inês:

Her tomb is supported by these adorable little beings:

Not a great picture but this altar has statues that represent the death of St. Bernard:

The "Room of Kings". The blue tile background recounts the legend of the founding of the monastery by King Alfonso Henriques:

Statues line the entire wall, some are painted, some are not. There were a few empty pedestals waiting to receive statues:

These were in a different room, they don't look it but they were huge, a lot bigger than life-sized:

We were lucky because while we were there there was a singing performance going on (classical religious songs that you could imagine choir boys would sing back then). The men singing had normal speaking voices but when they sang they sounded like little boys, their voices were so high. We didn't stay to watch the whole performance but the singing echoed through all parts of the monastery and I think it really added to the experience.

 The kitchen was probably one of the coolest rooms to me. This is where the water came in from outside:

 It wasn't possible for me to capture it in the pictures, but the ceilings were VERY high, with large windows set near the top. The walls and ceiling were entirely covered with white tile, which had a really cool effect. In the middle of the room was a huge cooking hearth with a chimney that dominated most of the room:

 A cloister:

Not 100% about how this was used but cool anyways:

 Where the monks would wash up:

The refectory:

Another great weekend. Nothing too eventful, besides meeting a creepy waiter. This weekend most likely will be quiet but the next one I should be going to Lagos. Woo?

So, I didn't realize my friend had taken a bunch of pictures too so here are some more....

Yes, I have a habit of walking into every picture my friend takes, whether on accident or otherwise.

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