Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Exploring Portugal in December - Tomar, the Knights Templar, a Winery

Before I continue, a bit about the food.  Luscious baked goods, an abundance of fresh fish (you don't have to eat sardines, but they are everywhere,too), their famed "black" pork, and increibly good and inexpensive wines. Vegetables are seldom seen except as a garnish, but we are on vacation, right?

Our Air B&B near Batalha was a sunny hilltop villa perfectly located for our explorations. After a day of exploring, we retreated to the house to play cards, drink wine and wait for the dinner hour, which in Portugal, doesn't begin until at least 8 PM. That took some adjustment...

Tomar, home of the Knights Templar

n 1983, UNESCO awarded the classification of world heritage to the Templar Castle and the Convent of the Knights of Christ in Tomar, a unique monument in the history of the western world. Built on a site that was originally used for Roman worship, this vast monumental complex illustrates seven centuries of Portugal's history and contains several important mementoes of decisive moments in the history of the western world.








The guide at the Tourist Office in Tomar was shocked that we only allotted one afternoon for her amazing city; but alas, life is short... We only wanted to see the famous Knights' Templar complex, which included an ancient castle including ramparts from which to throw stones or boiling oil on invaders, a cathedral, countless courtyards covered in colorful tiles, and a monastery/residence for hundreds of knights and monks in the 11th - 15th centuries.




Walking along the streets in Tomar, we trod on the city's symbols:

We saw these cute door handles throughout the town but never found out their origin:


And visited their historic synagogue, which literature says at one time was as important to the Jewish faith as Mecca is to Islam today:

We stopped at a wine shop for our afternoon libation; it "whet our whistle" to visit a local winery, knowing Portugal is famous for wine.  So we found tour for the next day.

 Quinta do Sanguinhal (Quinta do Sanguinhal - 2544-909, Bombarral, Portugal)



A Cork Tree!









 The centuries' old pressing room, now the Tasting Room.




We liked every one...

 
Packing up our purchases, which were unbelievably inexpensive, and saying farewell to the winery puppy, Cork:



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