I started the day off with a great breakfast and got on the road – next stop, Marvao and then on to Tomar.
Marvao caught my eye based on the views and the history – a small, medieval town on top of a mountain with protective walls dating back to the 13th century. That was enough for me to add it to my road trip and about an hour and thirty minutes after I left Elvas I was there. Again, I was not disappointed. Stunning. I spent several hours walking through the old alleys and small streets, climbing up the walls, and just being awestruck by the views. As with previous small towns, traveling in the off season pretty much allowed me to explore without crowds.
I’ll let the photos say it all.
Not sure I could add anything in words – it was simply majestic. I didn’t think anything could top this!
On to Tomar. Upon arrival in Tomar, I checked into the flat I had rented and it was incredible. This was another AirBnB find and the hostess Carla was very welcoming. It is funny because she does not speak English and I do not speak Portuguese, yet we managed to communicate just fine. She handed me the keys, showed me to the flat, and understood my basic questions. She used a map to show me some basic stuff, suggested a restaurant for dinner, and I went off to explore.
It was somewhat late in the day but I still managed to walk through the main parts of town, with the highlight being the main square with the church and clocktower of Sao Joao Baptista. Beautiful architecture and beautifully laid out square. I could see the castle and convent at the top of the hill – my destination for the following day.
After all that walking, it was time for dinner so I headed over to Calça Perra Restaurante, the restaurant that was suggested. I walked in and quickly remembered that Portuguese like to enjoy their dinner later than us Americans. I was the first there. I didn’t care – I was hungry. The chef came out to greet me and we established a conversation – in Spanish! She proceeded to tell me about the dishes that were available and finally made some recommendations that were spot on. I started with mussels (in plain “sea water”, olive oil, garlic, parsley) and followed it up with her recommended entree: a crusted salmon dish served with potatoes and veggies. Dessert was out of this world good, a Molten chocolate cake tower with vanilla ice cream and some frozen drinks as an aperitif. I honestly thought I had died and gone to heaven! One of the best meals I’ve EVER had.
I figured it’d be tough to fall asleep after that, but I had a full day the next day.