Europe Portugal

Trains, automobiles and the Knights Templar: our side trip to Tomar, Portugal

Sometimes, in Europe, the trains go on strike. That means limited or no information. It could be hours or it could be all day. We arrived at the beautiful Porto train station on just such a day. If 30 years of business travel in the US has taught me anything it’s that things go wrong and it’s always best to try to be in control of your own destiny. So, with more than 300 kilometers to go before we slept on our heaviest train day of the trip and with limited time in Portugal, when the train system brought us lemons we made lemonade with Europcar.

This permitted us to take the road less traveled and a side trip to Tomar.

The city was founded in 1162 by Dom Gualdim Pais, the Grand Master of the Order of the Templars. Built at that time in the Manueline style (combination of Roman, Gothic and Renaissance styles), the Convent of Christ was once a stronghold of the Knights Templar. It sits atop a hill to the west of town overlooking the city and the fields, mountains and hills of the Santarém region and was named a UNESCO heritage site in the 1980s.

And no, we did not find the Holy Grail, encounter any Trojan rabbits or Knights who say Ni, but we did have a great and unplanned day.

For more information, consider my Sources:

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