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The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “hotel villa batalha”

Batalha Monastery


Batalha monastery is in Batalha around 130 kms from Lisbon along a nice toll autoroute. In fact it is really the only major thing in Batalha. There is a nice hotel Villa Batalha and some nice restaurants, but without the monastery there is little to entice visitors. You cannot miss the monastery as it towers over the town and is a great landmark to find your way around.

The building took over 100 years to build starting in 1336 and represented the commemoration of a battle. An earthquake in 1775 did some damage and pillaging Napoleonic soldiers did rather more in 1811 but the restoration began in 1840 and was added to UNESCO world heritage sites in 1983. To view all the various segments takes around 2 hours and some degree of internal sat-nav. The Portuguese are not recognised for their signage skills and the first difficulty one has is finding the way in. The second one is to work out that although entrance to the main Nave is free, to get into all the interesting parts costs a mere 6 euros, but no-one actually tells you this. The ticket desk is in fact just that, a desk in the corner.  The interior is beautiful. There are many tombs and chapels and there is little point me detailing these as Wikipaedia does a wonderful job. I will only focus on the curious architecture around the monastery. Roads seem unfinished. Piles of sand seem randomly deposited on the road blocking the way for example to the only hotel in the town. The town has great sports complexes, football grounds, swimming pools and even an athletic track. What seemed missing was people. The place other than a few dozen tourists was empty. Cafes and restaurants all with nice smelling foods were essentially empty. Maybe the rain did not help. This is a place worth visiting. A night in the Hotel Villa Batalha. A dinner in a restaurant . A 2 hour visit to the monastery and maybe some coffee and people watching in the squares. I like this place. Even the graffiti is worth looking at.

Woman Sleeping outside a shop. Presumably not dead

Woman Sleeping outside a shop. Presumably not dead

 

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

Piles of random sand in random roads in Batalha

Piles of random sand in random roads in Batalha

 

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

Soldiers in Batalha Monastery

Soldiers in Batalha Monastery

 

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

Batalha Monastery Soldier

Batalha Monastery Soldier

 

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

IMG_1691Graffiti at the Monastery of Batalha

Graffiti at the Monastery of BatalhaIMG_1693
Batalha Tree

Batalha Tree

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery

 

Reflections from Portugal


Portugal is not a country that UK folks travel widely to. Maybe a trip to the Algarve or a cruising stop in Lisbon. After a short trip there I must report that this is a great country to visit and remarkably cheap. Arriving at Lisbon airport one is greeted by a slightly run down airport that is undergoing some sort of renovation but this is not Terminal 5. The facilities are a little jaded. Drving out of the airport one is in an industrial hinterland where some familiar and some unfamiliar names can be seen. But it is when one gets 30 kms outside Lisbon that the scenery becomes  green and old castles can start to be seen. There are mainly toll roads so driving 130 kms from Lisbon to Batalha will cost around 9 euros. The Portuegese in fact have invented the technology that allows a little electronic tag on the car windscreen that means that queueing at toll booths can be a thing of the past. The striking observations are what a hilly and mountainous country Portugal is. Just all up and down. Everywhere. The people are friendly but not all speak English. Some understand a lot but cannot speak much, but most smile a lot. Most things seem cheap. Around £1 buys you a bottle of water in a hotel room that would be double that in UK. Generally everywhere is more relaxed. On arrival at the hotel there is no interrogation about credit card etc, in fact no-one asked. Another quaint difference is that food is often served lukewarm rather than hot. Scrambled eggs and bacon at breakfast were if I were kind warm. I only got to stay in one hotel Villa Batalha hotel in Batalha. An incredibly good hotel, friendly, comfortable and with nice chairs and furniture all around, so no need to sit in a reception area such as is the norm in UK. The most striking observation however is that there are so few people around, now to put this into context this was 130 kms from Lisbon. But few cars, few people, little noise, nice looking sports facilities and so on. A place that is well worth coming, however one night in Batalha would be enough. Finally back at Lisbon airport, the airport lounges are distinctly not UK. A moany sort of woman asked for some healthy food, the stern girl said  “you can have an apple”, and meant it! A woman in Batalha was either dead or sleeping soundly outside presumably her souvenir shop, now that something we do not see in Primark or Costa!

Batalha

Batalha

Woman Sleeping outside a shop. Presumably not dead
Woman Sleeping outside a shop. Presumably not dead

 

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