The town of Evora is quite charming, within the preserved city walls are cobblestone lanes, charming streets, the place just oozes character. After a wonderful meal at Botequim da Mouraria, followed by a nap, we were ready to do a bit more exploring. I really wanted to see the Agua de Prata Aqueduct, the "Aqueduct of Silver Water", which stretches into Evora from the Northwest. It was literally a block from our hotel. You turned the corner and the aqueduct was in sight.
Construction on the aqueduct began in 1531 and was completed sometime in 1537 and brought water to Evora from Ribeira do Divor about 5 miles away.
What made this interesting to me was that I had read that there were houses and other structures actually using the pillars of the aqueduct as frames. Pretty amazing, no space wasted.
Of course the aqueduct works on gravity, so as the structure goes lower, so do the buildings.....
Which eventually turns to garages and sheds as it heads earthward.....
While walking along the aqueduct we heard an "hello, hello.....how are you? Would you like to have your picture taken?" We turned and saw a woman huffing and puffing, up the street....her name was Toni, from Australia, who had decided to move to Evora! Needless to say, we had a wonderful chat. I have to say, Toni is quite an interesting personality, her husband had passed away, and somehow, in her 60's she had decided to move here. Of course we had many questions; like "how's your Portuguese?" Her answer; "well, I'm starting lessons next week." Man, talk about living an adventure.....
We headed off to our next destination....it was time for some coffee and a snack or two. We passed quite a few sights on the way, some of which I'll cover in a future post. Here's a photo of Igreja da Graça, the Church of Grace. I found the figures on the facade kind of scary and the church just looked spooky to me.
We finally reached our destination, up one of the side streets; the Pastelaria Conventual, which specialized in "Conventual cakes", basically sweets that originated in the areas convents. I had a seat outside, while the Missus went to town.
We were told that the item Pastelaria Conventual is known for is the pão de rala, a "thin cake", made of eggs (quite a bit) and flavored with almond, with a touch of orange. It was a bit too "eggy" and sweet for me.....pretty heavy stuff too.
As was this.....
What was really funny was watching the Missus biting into this and freaking out.....
It was nice to just sit down; have a cup of Cafe Americano and let time pass. It's something we here in the States aren't real good at......just sitting and watching the street scene; your own personal relaxation "aquarium".
Rua do Cicioso No.47
After our snack we wandered around for a bit, then headed back to the Albergaria do Calvario, checked email, freshened up and headed back out.
The heavily touristed Dos Mercadores was now quiet. The day trippers were gone, the young folk had headed to other places to enjoy the evening, and the shops had closed.
The heart of Evora, the Praca do Giraldo, the main square was now quiet and sedate, totally different from the bustling version we had seen earlier in the day.
Somehow, we ended up at the Templo Romano, the Roman Temple once again.....we quickly noticed how different it looked at this time of the day.
We walked across the street to the Largo da Porta de Mouro where the Missus snapped this beautiful shot of the sun setting over Evora......
Ok, enough of that....time for dinner. The Missus wanted something hearty, which the region, the Alentejo was known for. We decided to walk on down the now quiet side streets of Evora....
To Adega do Alentejano.......
The restaurant is actually quite large, but we were the only customers. The red checkered tablecloths gave it a homey feel and the gentleman serving us seemed a bit aloof at first, but ended up being quite a nice guy.
Things started out in the typical manner, appetizers brought to our table...if you eat, you pay. We also got some of the ohuse wine which actually comes from the barrels you see in the back of the dining area.
We looked over the items written on the chalkboard to determine what to get while we had our first earthenware pitcher of wine.
The Missus had been curoius about the Sopa de Tomate, tomato soup, wince She first read about it. The deal was sealed when She was told to not "order anything else...it is not a bowl of soup, but a meal!" They weren't kidding.
There's a lot this heart soup has got going for it; slices of bread soaked with a broth that just feels like a warm comforting embrace. There is of course the Missus' favorite, two eggs poached in said broth.
And like the info-mercial goes, "but wait, there's more...." a bowl of charcuterie accompanies the soup; fried pork belly, linguiça, and yes, farinheira, the "flour sausage" the Missus hated, which tasted just lovely deep fried.
Can you say comfort food????
If you think about it; this part of the Alentejo is almost like the great plains in a way, it is one of the hottest regions in Europe. Instinctively you'd immediately balk when offered a dish that includes clams, right? Well perhaps I had my doubts, but one of the classic dishes of the region is Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a dish that includes the wonderful local pork as well as clams. I just needed to try this.
The clams were surprisingly fresh, tender, and tasty, with a nice briney goodness. The pork, which seemed to be shoulder was on the chewy side, but the flavor of pork here is wonderful, it reminds me of what pork tasted like when I was a kid, even better. The fried potatoes went well with all the rich gravy/broth.
Adega do Alentejano
Rua Gabriel Victor do Monte Pereira 21 A
Thanks for reading!