Castelo Branco

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In case you didn't realize it, you can click on the pictures for a bigger images.

We finally made our way to Castelo Branco a little before 4 in the afternoon. Luis dropped us off and went to teach his eager students while Professor Doty and I started our explorations. There was no hurry because we had about 4 and a half hours to explore this little town.
We first ventured into the cathedral where Luis dropped us off. We heard music playing, but there was no organist. I found the electric organ beneath the pipes of the orginal organ.

Down the street from the cathedral, we saw this monument. Professor Doty pointed this one out specifically because of the pattern of along the main shaft. The shaft looks like a rope, symbolizing the ropes used by the Portuguese sailors. This theme honoring the maritime tradition that made Portugal great, and helped to create their naval and trade empire, is a common one around the country.

After exploring the cathedral for a little while we walked to the gardens. These gardens were founded by one of the rulers of Portugal to honor the previous kings. There are statues of each of the kings of Portugal in the gardens. The blue tile in the background (picture on left) is actually made in Aveiro.
The signs of the Zodiac were represented in one part of the garden. The small angels are holding the plaques depicting the symbols. I found mine (Capricorn) and took a picture.

I had to find my camera thief, but he took a few shots at me as I climbed a staircase lined by the 12 Apostles. Fortunately they were only camera shots and nothing more potent. The statues of the kings adorn the opposing staircase, which can be seen in the background. Once I got to the upper level,
I was rewarded with a nice view of the gardens. The fountains in these gardens are reminiscent of the Roman gardens I saw in Conímbriga. Each corner of the lower level had three of the Zodiac signs, and the central fountain was surrounded by representations of the virtues.

This is a depiction of the fortress at Monsanto. That's what caught our eyes, but on closer inspection, we realized that this mural is made from the same blue tiles that Aveiro used to be famous for. Professor Doty is pointing to the markings that told us where they were made.

As we walked around the town of Castelo Branco, we came upon a gypsy village under an an overpass. To the right you can see a gypsy family playing and learning together. The father and grandmother are teaching the children some of the skills they will need as they get older.

We worked our way towards the castle that gives the town it's name and saw this little pony grazing by the side of the road. He didn't seem too happy at being disturbed, so we moved on. At the top of the hill (Why do they always build these things way up where they're hard to get to?) we were able to see
pretty much the entire town, and even one of the neighboring cities. It's hard to tell, but the garden we were at is in the center of this picture.

Shortly after our hike up to the fortress, we worked our way back down to the cafe where Luis wanted to meet us. After dinner at a little chinese restaurant in Castelo Branco, we headed back to Aveiro and a nice comfortable bed in the hotel.



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