Some friends told us about a place to stay in the tiny town of Lavre, called Anema. It is a dairy, run by a Christian Dutch couple. They have a small cottage on their property (with a full kitchen so you can do your own cooking), which they rent very cheaply. It was such a lovely and peaceful place, and I hope we can be frequent visitors there! Alex especially liked watching all the animals, and we all enjoyed the fresh milk, yogurt, and cheese that they gave us.
Amena provided a perfect central point for exploring some of the Alentejan towns, many of which have a medieval flair with castles and old city walls. On Saturday, we spent all day in Évora and the surrounding area. Sunday, we visited Estremoz and Évoramonte before heading home to Lisbon. Here are some pictures of our adventuring.
View from our cottage
A game of four-in-a-row
Exploring the castle in Montemor-o-Novo (on the way to Évora)
View from the castle wall -- the round structure is a praça de touros (bullring). Bullfighting is a national institution in Portugal, and many of the bulls come from this region.
The Templo Romano (Roman Temple) in Évora
We climbed to the top of the Sé (Cathedral) in Évora for this great view of the city
Near Évora is the Cromeleque dos Almendres, a grouping of nearly 100 megaliths, or "standing stones," kind of like a mini-Stonehenge.
Alex loved climbing on the megaliths! In fact, when we asked him what was his favorite thing we did this weekend, he said, "The place with the big rocks!"
Rusty took this awesome picture of me and Stephen at the Cromeleque. I think we could almost be models for Hotslings!
The ramparts and palace of Estremoz. The squarish gray structure right in the middle is the keep, the Torre das Três Coroas (Tower of the Three Crowns). We climbed all the way to the top of it for a stunning view.
The castle town of Évoramonte
On the castle roof
View of the town from the castle roof