While I was working to find a good personal guide in Barcelona, Shelly was working to find us a good personal guide in Lisbon.
Our first day of touring with John took us north to Fatima and it's beautiful neoclassical basilica with it's paved square which is said to be twice as big as St. Peter's in Rome.
We drove north on Super Highway A-1 about 85 miles to Fatima, arriving about 10:30 am. Riding in John's beautiful Mercedes-E Sedan beat the heck out of a bus ride. We spent some time looking at the Church, monuments and other sites around the church at Fatima. Fatima is famous as the site where in May of 1917, three young shepherds saw a series of miraculous visions which was followed by a solar phenomenon witnessed by thousands in October of the same year.
From Fatima, we drove through the foot hills to the Town of Batalha, where, we toured the wonderful 14th century Battle Monastery. This structure was commissioned by King John the first in gratitude for the victory over Juan 1 of Castile at the Battle of Aljubarrota nearby in 1365. (Note: The tomb of King John I and his wife is located in the Chapel of the Founders inside the Monastery) .
The exterior of the Monastery is magnificent. Honey- colored limestone is carved into lace-like tracery and the building has weathered into a beautiful color scheme. From Batalha, it was off to the coastal town of Nazare. Riding through the countryside and seeing the small towns and villages tucked away in the coastal mountains and hills was most interesting.
Our first stop in Nazare was high atop a hill overlooking the beach and city. Here we were able to see and enter the small chapel where Vasco De Gama prayed before setting out to round the Cape of Good Hope and find India. (Note, this is the route that Christopher Columbus thought that he was following in 1492). The wonderful ceramic tile ceiling in this little chapel was very beautiful. From this high vantage point we could look down at the city of Nazare as well as out to sea. We took note that the beach itself is very clean and very wide at Nazare.
John then took us down into the city where we did some shopping and also stopped in at a seaside sandwich restaurant where we all had Baguette Beef Sandwiches with Fries and Diet Cokes for the amazing cost of less than $1.75 per person. From Nazare, we proceeded to the wonderful walled city of Obidos.
Going up hill we stopped in numerous shops where we purchased some souvenirs and got to meet some of the local residents which was a real treat. Once at the top we could enjoy the views of the Castle and also look back down across the beautiful tiled roofs of the homes and shops of Obidos.
Wisely, John did not take us to anymore sights after we left Obidos. We had climbed stairs, streets, paths and approaches all day and were a little tired. We appreciate his not waiting to be asked. We had had a wonderful day and were looking forward to the next day when we would be heading out again with John to see Sintra and the coastal area to the west of Lisbon.