Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
As one of Dan Brown fans, I surely can’t skip learning about the Knights Templar – mentioned before as the religious military order in Da Vinci Code. The city of Tomar was intended to serve as a home and headquarters, and it remained that way after the Templars reorganized themselves as the Military Order of Christ. Not only are the Tomar Castle and Convent of Christ considered Templar museums but the town-center was planned as a cross. All around town are landmarks has connection to this ancient group, showing the traditional Portuguese charm.
Alright. Enough with the history buffs.
Tomar Castle and Convent of Christ
After Luis and I went to Óbidos and Peniche on the days before, this time we visit Tomar. It just less than an hour from the hotel where we stayed – Areias do Seixo in Dos Cunhados – to the Tomar Castle, and the Sacred Convent of Christ inside its elaborate walls.
At the convent’s entrance, there was someone who will guide us inside. Unfortunately, he couldn’t speak English so I didn’t understand anything at all besides just looking around. Knowing this, Luís told me to go if I want. He didn’t want me to be ‘porridge’ and boring. So, yeah, I left them and went around by myself.
Explore around this traditional Portuguese charm alone is great. We can do anything and go anywhere and anytime we want. I totally understand the spirit of solo travelers in the world. However, I also enjoy traveling with a company – in my case Luís. As a sketcher, sometimes he will spend hours doing a sketch. While he sketches I will happily wander around by myself without nagging him to be faster on his sketch.
However, this traditional Portuguese charm surely captivated me. I lost time to track and due it’s size, I lost Luís too! We were agreed to meet in one of the cloisters around 4 PM because we had an appointment to go to Castle Almourol. Yet I couldn’t find it! And at that time I didn’t have internet nor Portuguese number so we couldn’t communicate. I went around and around from outside the convent to the backside of it – nothing. It was already 4.30 PM. I’m so anxious that Luís will get mad because we are making somebody waiting for us. I’m screwed.
The clock showed me it was almost 5 PM when we finally found each other. Luís didn’t say anything – but I know that he’s really mad! – and asked us to leave right away to the Castle Almourol that dropped our jaws later on – wiping out all the stress we had.
The Castle of Almourol is regarded as Portugal’s most beautiful castle! Situated on a small cliffy island in the middle of the Tagus River, Almourol Castle is one of the most significant military Medieval monuments, which best evokes the memory of the Knights Templar in Portugal.Center of Portugal
The origin of this traditional Portuguese charm is shrouded in mystery, but it is known that its occupation stretches back to 1129, date when it was conquered by the Portuguese troops. Until then it was called Almoralan and it is believed that had existed at this place a primitive Lusitanian and pre-roman stronghold.
The island itself would not be more than a large boulder. Accessible by ferry or on foot when the water is low. We came quite late and the water also was quite high so it was impossible to walk. We were also lucky because there was the last ferry for that day!
On our way to the castle, we saw a few ferries with a bunch of tourists went back to the main island. I think the fact that we came quite late made the place less crowded. Yay! From the ferry, this beautiful traditional Portuguese charm was amazing. I could see the reflection of the castle through the water that makes it even more magical.
Immediately my imagination active – being a princess who looking for the refugee of opposing soldiers. LOL
Where to stay
Here, we were staying in Hotel do Templarios. Located in the center of Tomar with a glimpse view of Tomar Castle and Convent of Christ. Even Luís did a sketch from our room as you can see on the picture below.
Traditional Portuguese charm – Tomar & Castle of Almourol undoubtedly have to be in your bucket list in Portugal. Besides, the backstories that are exciting and the beauty that remains are enough reasons that will amaze you. I will happily come back here in the future and may have the same effect!
Next, we will visit one of my favorite Monastery in the world, Batalha Monastery.
BUT! it will be in a special way… Do you want to know? Click here!