Electric Knight.

Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
Trip End Apr 10, 2011

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

While pilfering ideas from Darren and Kim's blog we saw an awesome photo taken in a little town just over the mountain called Tomar. Little did we realize though that it was one of the coolest places ever, on many levels.

Tomar had this epic Knights Templar citadel built on the hill that was built using war technology from the holy-lands that Europe had never seen. Later when the Templars were done away with, the new custodians built a marvelous basilica and convent in it. Making the complex an intricate series of styles and designs. For 6€ each we didn’t feel hard done by as it took us hours and hours to see it all.

Thinking we had seen it all we strangely had the impulse to go and visit the tourism office anyway. There we got to talking to the guy who proudly pointed out all the other amazing attractions in the town, all for free mind you! He also told us about the cheap camping ground over the river. There was some tension in that knowledge though, because we have never paid to sleep anywhere on this entire trip, and we were reluctant to start now! But another frosty night ahead felt miserable, and the promise of a hot shower was like being promised heaven.

When we submitted ourselves to the campground, it didn’t take very long before were frolicking over to the shower block, showering for what seemed like hours! The entire area was swallowed in our steam! It was a spiritual experience no fatima could compete with!

Several times during the night we would reach over and turn the electric blow heater on and re-warm the van. It was the warmest night of our lives! Jena felt like we had checked into a 5 star hotel. A hotel that costed 7.30€…

The next day we had a criteria of buildings to go and visit. Portugal is great because most attractions are free or relatively cheap. But on this day- entirely free.
We first visited an old church with a weird adjoined museum that showcased an enormous collection of Match-boxes/Matchbooks. 50-60,000 boxes on display from every age and country. It sounds like such a boring place, but actually the graphics and design of it all was outstanding! You could spend all day there we swear. We are not being sarcastic!

Later we visited a photography exhibition, and then the modern art gallery. Finishing with the oldest synagogue in southern Europe! Which is amazing really when you consider the whole inquisition thing, its amazing one was even left! A cool thing about that place was the fact that they had these holes in the walls where behind were clay vases. What happens is that sound is condensed in them and amplified! We were slightly embarrassed to talk because it became so loud.
The matchboxes are the best though... seriously. Go and see those matchboxes.
Oh but see the Templar castle first of course.
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