This morning, we left Spain and travelled towards the third highlight of our trip...Fatima in Portugal.
We drove through Combaro to satisfy our curiosity of how the unique horreos looks like since it is reputed to look more like a church than a granary. We guessed this should be the one since it fits the description of 'wooden structure with stone crosses'.....
It is indeed a unique design! And it can be found along the main street...don't have to go to the beach as advised by travel books!
From here, we moved on to A.Toxa, a tiny island linked to Combaro by a bridge. Main attraction that drew us here? A church fully covered with scallop-shell!
|Visitor leaving their "mark" on the the scallop shell on the exterior wall of the church|
|Main altar of church|
It is a very small church with no fan-fare decorations at all. Yet, somehow we were attracted to it's simplicity. Guess having seen many churches with breath-taking architecture, the simplicity of this church brought us back to focus....that it is the house of God and not just a place of tourist attraction. It's the place where we pray!
A Toxa is a resort island that's both peaceful and laid-back. A place ideal for unwinding and recharging. We lingered for a very short while on the island, bought some beautiful hand-made seashell products from an old lady before continuing our journey into Portugal.
Our first stop in Portugal was Ponte de Lima, a picturesque village that exudes an air of tranquility, making us regret not having planned a night there!
|View of Ponte de Lima across the Lima River|
While most river banks are for strolling and water gazing, this river bank (the sandy patch) serves a different purpose. It's a free parking space and that's where we parked our car too. But beware! When the water level rises, that sandy patch will be fully submerged, and that goes for any car parked there! So, look and check before parking.
Across the 27 arches roman bridge that links the two banks of the Lima River, the 18th/19th century Igreja de Santo Antonio da Torre Velha, though small and old, remains charming.
|Front facade of Church of St Antonio de Torre Velha|
|Bell tower of church|
The simple front facade of the church was beautified with Portugal's famous glazed tiles while the bell tower constructed in 1814 pride itself for its height and the size of its gargoyles.
This side of the river (that is the bank opposite Ponte de Lima) comprises mainly of housing estates. So after some exploration, we returned to Ponte de Lima to do what the Portugese does....enjoy a pack of roasted chestnuts as we soaked ourselves in the atmosphere.
|"Soldiers" guarding the river bank of Ponte de Lima 24/7!|
|Clock tower in Ponte de Lima......you probably can't really see it....but really we were more attracted to that "castle"|
|Sunday flea market along River Lima|
We did some shopping at the quaint shops there before leaving reluctantly to our next destination, Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres. According to our research from travel books and websites, taking a road trip round the national park would present some of the most spectacular scenery on both sides of the Spanish and Portugese border. Unfortunately, we overrun our time again by lingering longer than we should at A.Toxa and Ponte de Lima. So, as you may have guessed, we had to let go of this trip and head straight to our final destination of the day, Braga old city.
The non-toll road of Portugal took us by surprise. We left Ponte de Lima around late afternoon but only managed to reach our bed & breakfast in Braga at 8pm....and this is with some help from a very helpful lady who took the trouble detouring from her route (after dropping her kids) to guide us to Braga city.
So, our advice to would-be travellers, don't save on toll when driving in Portugal. The non-toll single-lane road took us round mountains after mountains, villages after villages......with the slow traffic.....the journey seems never-ending!!
Tired.......lights off.....good night!!
This post first appeared on Carefree And Off-the-beaten Tracks Travels Around The World, please read the originial post: here