¿Qué es la vida? Un frenesí.
¿Qué es la vida? Una ilusión,
Una sombra, una ficción, y el mayor bien es pequeño:
que toda la vida es sueno,
y los sueños, sueños son.
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca
This has always been one of my favorite quotes from La vida es sueño by Calderon. I think in many ways it aptly describes my first day in Evora Portugal.
The most economical route (in terms of money and time) involves taking the night bus that stops in Evora on its way to Lisbon. (It is about one hour or so from Lisbon). The bus leaves at 11:30 and arrives roughly at 4 am after considering the time difference (1 hour less). We arrived closer to 5 since we had a minor hiccup on the side of the road, to be honest, I have no idea why we stopped.
It’s not necessarily a rough trip. The hardest thing was falling asleep on the bus, especially since I was in the first row and there was a movie playing full blast while the conductor chatted with the passenger next to you. Eventually I nodded off, just about when we reached the rest stop. Almost all buses over 4 hours stop for half an hour after the third hour for half an hour to use the restroom, grab a bite to eat, stretch, ect. Before I knew it I was standing on the curb in Evora luggage in hand.
In hind sight, I really should have done more research and at least had a city map with me, but per usual I just assumed that all would turn out well and truthfully it always does.
The bus station was closed because it was so early, and so I started walking to what I thought was the city center. I knew that my hostel was somewhere near there, but beyond that I had no idea. I figured that I had about three hours before the city came to life and so there was plenty of time to find the city’s center.
Within about fifteen minutes I was in the center, Praca da Giralda (the center). I walked around the neighboring areas trying to figure out where I was. It was almost completely dead, except for the trickle of people heading home after a night out. I must admit that it would not have been a very miserable morning, since it was rather interesting to explore when the streets were quiet; however, it was freezing. The entire Iberian Peninsula is suffering another cold spell, and well, I was frozen to the bone.
I figured out, eventually, that my hostel was on the Praca da Giralda, but to keep warm decided it was best to keep walking. After exploring one direction, I went the next, and the next and the next.
As the photos show, it started to lighten as I kept going. Eventually I wound up at the Roman Aqueduct.
After which I made my way back to the center, seeing as it was around 8 am and asked the hostel to store my luggage for the day and for a map of the city. Nelson offered me both and suggestions of which places I must see. And thus commenced my five days of furious walking throughout Evora Portugal.
Here are the rest of the photos taken on my way back to the hostel.