Due to its well-preserved old town centre, still partially enclosed by medieval walls, and a large number of monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The strangest place was the Capela dos Ossos. It is a small internal chapel located next to the entrance of the Church of St. Francis. The Chapel gets its name because the interior walls are covered and decorated with human skulls and bones. The Capela dos Ossos was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk who, in the Counter-Reformation spirit of that era, wanted to prod his fellow brothers into contemplation and transmit the message of life being transitory, a very common spirituality theme summed up in the motto memento mori. This is clearly shown in the famous warning at the entrance Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos (“We bones that here are, for yours await").

Light enters through three small openings on the left. Its walls and eight pillars are decorated in carefully arranged bones and skulls held together by cement. The ceiling is made of white painted brick and is painted with death motifs. At the time of the Chapel of Bones’ construction, the city’s two Franciscan cemeteries were overflowing and the remains had to be exhumed to create more space. That's when three of the monks thought to create a chapel with the bones and skulls serving as decoration for the walls, columns, arches, and domes. Moreover, the bone fragments, were decided upon to form part of the mortar. It is estimated that at least 5,000 cadavers were used in construction.

Some of these skulls have been scribbled with graffiti. Two desiccated corpses, one of which is a child, dangle from ropes. And at the roof of chapel, the biblical phrase "Melior est die mortis die nativitatis (Better is the day of death than the day of birth)"

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A Cork Tour

A wet morning round the cork oak forests was very instructive. We were shown how they harvest the cork and told of the regulations governing cork production.

Nothing goes to waste. The main cork bark strip produces the top grade cork and after the bottle corks have been punched out, the trimmings are ground down to make composite corks. The cork is stripped from the branches pruned from the cork trees, and the wood remaining used for making charcoal

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Albergaria Do Calvario Hotel

Albergaria Do Calvario Hotel is located just inside the walls of the old town. You can cover all the recommended monuments within 15 minutes walk from the hotel

The ADC manages what few hotels do, and that is offer outstanding service, good hotel rooms, a really outstanding breakfast, and a convenient location. Many hotels claim to offer good service (but fail), this hotel has reception staff who go further than just being polite. They find out what you want to do in your time in Evora, make recommendations and book them for you if you want.

The breakfast was again outstanding. Many hotel breakfasts just wash over me, but this was different. They have homemade cakes and you really do want to try them all :-). Coffee as you would expect is fresh, and a lot of home made items like granola.

Our bedroom was good, but could have been improved with a bit more "interior design". Perhaps a few paintings, and a re look at the sitting area in our suite.

You are within walking distance of all the sights of Evora from the hotel. And we also took a "cork tour" in a jeep out to the cork farms and learned about cork production, which was really fascinating and recommendable

The hotel does have a garage onsite, but our car was too low to risk the steep ramp

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Taberna Tipica Quarta Feira

We were recommend here by our hotel, who also phoned to book. You will need a reservation as the restaurant only takes about 30 people and appears to be always full. It is well hidden down a side street, so you need a map to find it - it is not somewhere you would just stumble across. In fact we checked it out during daylight to make sure we could find it in the evening. Even then it was difficult to find our way back to our hotel at the end of the meal.

This is a family run place, with one or more from three different generations either cooking or serving There is no menu and no prices. It is a fixed price menu, and we had (not cheap) wine and water, with a total cost of 80€ for the two of us. . We knew in advance what was happening, but without foreknowledge, I would have been a bit spooked with the no price, no menu thing

You get a selection of starters, then neck of black pork (the acorn fed fellows) followed by desserts. I understand if you return and warn them, you will get a different menu.

It is a very pleasant evening and an environment in which you can relax and enjoy yourself with good food and friendly service. And be warned, they only take cash - no credit cards here

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Fabrica dos Pasteis

The nice lady at our hotel recommended it. You need help to find it, and work out on a map how to get to it. It is not far off the beaten track, but far enough to get you confused. I have sometimes been disappointed by pasteis dos nata in Portugal, but not here. As they say in Michelin "worth a detour". We liked it so much that we went back the next day

It is a lovely little cafe, comfortably decorated inside. It is remarkably good value for money. I think these were the best Pasteis dos Nata that I have eaten - really rich, moist and creamy; with excellent crisp pastry.

Their really excellent pasteis de nata costs 1€ and a really good coffee 0.60€ . So you can afford to have another pastel. :-) . It is a cafe, not a restaurant, but you can get savoury empenadas as well as a selection of other cakes. So you could get a light lunch here.

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Trip to Portugal 2018