Saturday, 20 September 2014

Day 138: Lisbon, Portugal to Caceres, Spain - Sat 20 Sept, 2014

Day 138: Lisbon, Portugal to Caceres, Spain - Sat 20 Sept, 2014
Rained again overnight, overcast morning. 

Took A1 towards Tomar, paddocks greening up with recent rains. 

Explored UNESCO listed Convento de Cristo, Convent of Christ on hill in Tomar; absolutely impressive – the real deal! Built by Templars in 1160 was part of defence of Christian Kingdom against Moors. Round towers more resistant to attack than square (attackers can't get ladders up!) 

The highly ornate, internal round church (16 sided polygon) was modelled on Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. It has a central octagonal structure, and was built big enough for Knights Templar to ride their horses inside for religious services - the first Drive-In Mass!! 



When the Templars were dissolved in 1319 assets moved to Order of Christ, whose Grand Masters pioneered Portuguese expeditions during Age of Exploration. 




Had an early lunch whilst parked in carpark, then turned inland, drier, rockier granite country, stone fences. Suddenly remembered hadn't looked for Christmas tree ornament from Portugal – averted near disaster by texting Boomers to pick us up a Knight Templar from gift shop as they follow on behind us. Stopped for groceries, last cheap shopping in Portugal. Nature reserve, farmers growing vines, chestnuts, corn, olives, quinces, pumpkin, cork trees, gum tree plantations in hills. Prolific prickly pear fruit. More castles on rocky hills. Saw sign: Castelo of Castelo de Vide... 

Crossed border back into Spain. Immediately can tell in more affluent country, better roads, more light industry, more vehicles, trees planted in towns. Tall black pigs under olive trees, dirty brown sheep, healthy deer. Cattle with horns curved ready to gore anyone who dares near, large herd of goats- trees flat bottomed at their cropping height. How predictable - sun came out in sunny Spain, after mostly overcast day in Portugal... 

Far blue hills, sage coloured scrub, dry yellow grass, orange-red rocks, eucalypts - have to shake off feeling that we are back in Australia! Nice to see evidence of rain-water in soaks, mini-dams, puddles along road, flowing water in rivers. 


Followed Aires in Spain book to free carpark camping (and raced a motorhome at lights on the way in to claim the last space!) The Aires was between two sports courts, young children playing soccer, girls squealing at boys continual possession of ball! 

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