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September 12 - Tour of Posada and Royal Palace, Visit to Estremoz
At 9 we met at the lecture room in the posada to hear about the locality in the Alentejo and the convent that had become the posada. Then we walked around the posada with our guide, visiting a number of the small chapels around the cloister and also the game room and the rooms that served for visitors to see the nuns. After that we went next door to the Royal Palace (119 - 121) for a tour led by a new guide, Lucia, a Dutch woman who with her husband farmed nearby. The palace was begun in 1501 and was the favorite home of the Dukes of Braganca who later became the Kings of Portugal under Joao IV. Unfortunately no pictures. Many rooms, many tapestries and tiles, a formal garden and a kitchen full to the brim of small and giant copper pans.

After that we were off to visit Estremoz. We passed through the are with the local marble works. Vila Vicosa is the center of the marble producing area in Portugal and is one of the most important in the world. Their specialty is pink marble. Then on through the grape fields and past wagons full of grapes to Estremoz where we had a long walk up to the center of the old town (122 - 126). There we had lunch at the local pousada (127 - 130). Very good (Tomato/cheese salad, lamb stew w potatoes and onions, green salad, golden soup, coffee). After that and a stop I cannot identify (131) Lucia led us up to the Capela da Rainha Santa, dedicated to the saintly Isabel, wife of King Dinis.(132 - 134). Then we went to the Museo Municipal with a display of archaeological finds, restored living rooms, tiles, plates, and a parade of bonecos, the charming pottery figurines for which Estremoz is famous.

Then back for dinner at the hotel. (Fish and potatoes, fruit salad) OK but not great.

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