Friday, September 27, 2013

UNESCO Town of Évora in Portugal

When an entire town is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you know it's going to be an interesting place, and that is the reason we chose to make an overnight stop in Évora on our trip through Portugal last summer.  Medieval city walls, an ancient Roman temple, a 16th century aqueduct, a Gothic cathedral, and even more fascinating history await visitors to this town located about an hour and a half drive from Lisbon.  

After a little bit of a glitch with our accommodations but then finally checking into a lovely hotel, we realized we were just around the corner from the remains of Temple Diana, Évora's most famous landmark.

This Roman temple survived the ages since its construction around the first century A.D. because it was put to various uses since the Middle Ages and regularly restored.  It is considered one of the best preserved Roman ruins on the Iberian peninsula.

View of Temple Diana from the Évora Cathedral.

Besides the Romans, the Moors left their mark on Évora as well.  The city was under Moorish rule for over 400 years.

Dom Manuel Palace

Moorish ruins.

Being the avid steeple climbers that we are, we gladly paid the 13€ for four of us to climb the Évora Cathedral tower up to the roof.

The views over the town are magnificent, as the church was built on the highest point in the city.

The cathedral, a blend of Romanesque and Gothic style architecture, was built in 1186.  It is believed that the flags of Vasco da Gama's first ships to the Orient were blessed here.  Very unique to the Évora Cathedral is the very pretty lantern tower over the crossing with its picturesque windows and six little turrets surrounding the spire.

The central square in town is Praça do Giraldo and it's a nice place to stop for a cool drink or bite to eat.  We had dinner at Café Arcada, which has a large diner sort of feel, and their menu pleased everyone in our family.

Praça do Giraldo is Évora's central square.

Before you leave town be sure to browse the shopping alleys.  Beautiful items crafted from local cork are great souvenirs.

On your way out of town, you can visit the Aqueduct of Silver Water which stretches for 6 miles and was built in the 1530s to deliver water to the city of Évora.

You can drive right through the aqueduct's arches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

10 Best Airlines in the World

I am currently skimming The 10 Best of Everything by Nathaniel Lande and Andrew Lande.

Interesting, their list of the 10 best airlines in the world, which they give in random order:

American Airlines (hmmm...not my personal favorite)
Cathay Pacific Airways
Thai Airways International
Air New Zealand
Malaysia Airlines
Japan Airlines
Midwest Airlines
British Airways
Singapore Airlines
Air Malta & Aegean Airlines

We'll be flying British Airways to Europe next summer, so I'll be able to judge them for myself, but how about you?  Do you agree with this list?
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