Day 16, Braga PT & Bom Jesus do Monte — 12 km

The main reason this town (Braga), made it onto my destination list was because the park of the Bom Jesus do Monte just outside of town looked spectacular. It’s a series of stairways up to a cathedral, with various themes.

We woke up late and had supermarket-purchased breakfast in our suite. Well, I woke up late. I’m pretty sure Dick was up pretty early. I was up reading late. Dick eventually came in and told me he’d made coffee, which I took as a hint.

By the time we were ready to leave the room, the day wasn’t looking too bad. There were blue skies with big fluffy clouds, so we happily decided to go check out the planned destination. First, we drove all the way to the top, then I thought about those tight curves and we drove back down, in case of heavy rains when we left. Then we took the very antique-looking funicular back up. (This is a photo of one on the way back down.)

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At the top were some beautiful features.

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(I told Dick to pretend he was a hermit in Lord of the Rings.)

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And the view was fabulous, too. See those heavy clouds? A major downpour started while we were in the gift shop. It went on about 20 minutes, then cleared back up to beautiful skies with puffy clouds. Here’s a view with the rain:

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We walked down the staircase.

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I liked this fountain with the water coming from the heart.

And the five senses fountains:

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This is the one for smell.

And here’s the one for sight, which reminds me of Cybermen.

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The water was only trickling from her eyes, not pouring like all the other fountains.

There were also fountains for various Roman gods, and lovely houses for the Stations of the Cross:

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It looks small, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t too impressed by the Stations of the Cross other than the buildings. Once you’ve walked the walk in Jerusalem, I mean… 😉

At the bottom, there were two serpent fountains that had alligators around the bottoms, which I quite liked:

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The serpent heads were at the top, and the water came out of their mouths then wound down their tails.

Here are some views:

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Anyway, we were going to go for lunch in another small town nearby but the rain started really coming down when we got on the bikes, so we just went back to the hotel instead.

We lunched in a pastry/snack shop because everything else was closing up from lunch (we are still on Spanish meal times, but the Portuguese finish lunch around 14:30, which is when Spanish are pretty much just starting). Here are some yummy cookie things I liked:

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They are squiggly and crunchy, and taste like basic biscotti.

After lunch, we just hung out in our room for the rest of the afternoon. We watched some TV, read some books, consulted some maps and weather, and I took a nap.

Then we had dinner at a lovely restaurant near the cathedral. I had such a yummy dessert. Some kind of pudding that was like a flan-style custard only denser, like it had been caramelized solid and gelatinized. My dinner was a yummy monkfish dish with prawns and rice.

We have decided that the weather will get us to our next hoped destination, the area of Vila Real, tomorrow, where we will check into a campsite with dry accommodations to rent, which will give us a chance to do some laundry and feel a little more independent (small kitchenette, for example, I think).

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