Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Hello, everyone.

Today we are in Tomar, a town east of Fatima. At one time this was the world headquarters of the Knights Templar. The castle here, Castelo Templario, and associated Convento del Cristo are a world heritage site, which means it's government administrated, is historic, and charges admission. It was founded in 1312 when surviving Knights fled to Portugal and changed the Order's name to The Order of Christ. They also redid the insignia by placing the red cross with equal arms on a white ground to symbolize that the old, condemned order was purified. This was good enough for the Pope at the time, as he knew they still had work to do.

The castle is very much worth the couple of hours to go through it. Amazing frescoes and tile murals are in various chapels. The site administrator allows modern artists to place, ahem, displays in the halls and rooms of the dormitory area. The ones we saw today seemed pointless. Also self immersed to a sad degree. A more edifying display would have been reconstruction of the expected furnishings in, say, a cell of a knight, a cell of a lay brother, the infirmary, and the kitchen. But that is just my opinion.

We're in an 8 bunk dorm at Thomar 2300 and the pen and ink style sketches on the walls are better than "Ten Stolen Blankets." (That was the name of one displayed "art" "work.")

We also saw a menu with Migas in a dish description. It looked like part of the plate, and since we had a waitress with good English skills we asked her about it. Migas in Portugal is not the same as in South Texas. It has cabbage, beans, seasonings, and possibly sausage--but no eggs!

Tomorrow we're back in the saddle again, for a long day but after 2 rest days we are optimistic. The heat is supposed to broken some, too. Here's hoping!