Jo’s Monday walk : Bom Jesus do Monte

You remember lovely Rita? Not the meter maid, but the excellent tour guide who showed us around her beautiful city, Braga. When I was deciding where to stay, I thought about being outside the city and staying close by Bom Jesus do Monte. The prospect of waking up there in mornings full of birdsong was very appealing. But I wanted very much to watch a couple of the Easter processions, and returning to Bom Jesus late in the evening might not have been so desirable. And so we stayed close by the cathedral, and saved the Sanctuary for our last day in the city. And this is where Rita comes into the picture. She suggested that we might take a very pleasant walk along the river, following the signs for Bom Jesus, approximately 5 kilometres away. Sounds like the sort of thing Restlessjo would enjoy? Absolutely! For now we’ll ignore the fact that the Sanctuary stands on the summit of a very high hill.

There was very convenient parking for the car beside the river Este. What could be better? A whole different and beautifully relaxed outlook on a busy city. We crossed and recrossed the river, enjoying the reflections in the water and our ever changing surrounds. A tiny chapel with beautiful doors and a froth of ferns inside. Homes for stray cats. Allotment gardens, street art and azulejo panels.

It’s not very wide but the Este gurgles along happily, irrespective of football heroes adorning the walls and willows dangling in the water. The university campus accounts for the many sports activities on display, and we are regularly passed by joggers and cyclists.

A cluster of bright irises catch the light, and picnic benches loiter in the shade. We part company with the river and its clear signage, and wonder which way next. But there is only one way it seems. Upwards, following the road. Bus stops antagonise, with never a trace of a bus. We wouldn’t! Would we? Well, perhaps, if one just happened to roll to a standstill beside us… but temptation is never presented. I encourage the other half with the thought that a funicular can carry us those last crucial metres. And so it does!

And we look down on this amazing panorama of the city, spread before us. Surely we didn’t walk all that way? I am enchanted with the dark red camellia that blossom everywhere, and the magnificent swathe of wisteria. I had not expected that Spring would be so colourful in the north of Portugal.

The statues seem to point the way to the church and before it gets too busy we decide to venture inside. It is very beautiful, and the altar is like nothing I have ever seen, full of figures accompanying Jesus.

Out into the sunshine again, the gardens are equally dazzling, with grottoes, pools and beautifully trimmed parterres. We wander amongst them for a while, and then are drawn to a terrace with views down over the garden.

An icecream, gazing out over the city, prepares us for the journey back down. The more conventional way, via the steps. Commissioned in 1723, it took 60 years to complete the stairway at Bom Jesus do Monte. It is a pilgrimage site, Golgotha of Jerusalem on a grand Baroque scale. Each of the stairway landings has a fountain- the first symbolising the wounds of Christ, the next five, the senses, and the final three, the virtues. At each corner, chapels contain larger than life wooden tableaux of the life of Christ, leading finally to the Crucifiction at the altar of the church. Neoclassical in style, this was constructed between 1784 and1857 by architect Carlos Amarante.

It’s an impressive piece of work and we take our time, and then descend steadily through the wooded slopes.

He’s smiling, but we were actually quite tired by the time we had retraced our steps back to the city. And we never did see a bus!

Isn’t it strange that this wild extravagance of architecture was recreated years later at Lamego, in the Douro? It was on my itinerary, of course. And we certainly earned the cake.

Starting at home with an appreciative Sarah again this week :

A stroll around Tavira

A lighthouse and a lot of steps kept Teresa out of mischief for a while :

One step at a time

The gentle passage of time, in Paris, with Drake :

Golden evening glow

Terri says it with flowers :

Sunday Stills: Fabulous Seasonal Florals

Rosemay explains a little about the weather patterns in SW Australia :

Djeran Season: Star Swamp Walk and Banksias

At the other end of Australia, Carol instructs us on mangroves :

Beauty at Low Tide

Still in Oz, Mel leads the way!

Kicking up Autumn Leaves at Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens

You’d have to agree that South Carolina is rather beautiful too. Thanks, Alice!

A Shoreline filled with Wildlife

Yay, Sharon’s ‘bagged’ another Wainwright!

Binsey

Starting where we finished, with Sarah, but the venue’s different :

In the footsteps of the Anasazi: Tsankawi

Where next? Not Lamego, just yet, but to a small town on the Rio Tamega, Amarante. I look forward to showing you around.

94 thoughts on “Jo’s Monday walk : Bom Jesus do Monte

  1. I love the photo with the panoramic view overlooking the city, Jo. Today’s Los Angeles Times published an informative article about the increasing numbers of Californians moving to Portugal. I smiled as I read it, recognizing from all that you share why the appeal would be so strong. The article highlighted how not everyone in Portugal is thrilled with the influx. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ I think I can understand the reluctance!

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    • I said something very like that just today, Debbie. Tavira is very much busier now than when we first came, and though it’s nice that people appreciate this very beautiful country there’s a strong tendency to want to keep it to yourself. Selfish, I know!

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  2. What an incredible place Jo – the views are stunning, the flowers gorgeous and the church and historical aspect of the place fascinating. You definitely deserved the cake for your efforts! Thanks for including my walk this week too! xx

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  3. I can only say, what an amazing place! Thank you very much for the tour, one more reason to get Portugal on the list (it already was there)! The walk along the river looks delightful, the stairway looks intriguing, and as always, the cakes look delicious – I love the plate under the last one. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Wow! Awesome walk, Jo, and the reward at the top amply rewarding your efforts. The views, both inside and out, are fabulous and you even got to ride a funicular! And of course the cake. If i could extract the creamy chocolate creation from your photo it would be gone in a heartbeat!

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  5. The walk was certainly worth it…although it’s easy for me to say that as I stand here at my laptop enjoying the photos but alas, not the sweet reward. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a glorious Monday walk!! I hope those shadows either didn’t materialize or have fled, leaving only sunshine. โค

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    • It felt like a treat, just writing this walk, Janet. I so love revisiting beautiful places through my walks and this was an exceptional day. We managed to have quite a few of them on our trip, so I’m blessed. Thanks for your concern, hon. The shadows come and go but we have company this week- our best man, who was widowed last year, so I’ll be kept fully busy entertaining him.

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  7. It does look amazing! I’d have liked the gardens, maybe not so much the stairs! Ice-cream and cake? You are spoiling us today – is one of them a figgy cake? I see you have visitors this week. Have a great time, I am sure you will enjoy being the hostess with the mostest (well slow cooker) or perhaps an excuse to eat out even more. It’s become so darn expensive to eat out here.

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  8. Well Jo, “like” really doesn’t cover this one, does it?! What an amazingly beautiful and unique place – and kudos to you for making the excursion all the way up by foot!!! Those steps down are among the most amazing things ever, don’t you think? And yes, you DEFINITELY earned the cake!!!

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    • I had seen many photos of the Sanctuary, before I even came to Portugal, Tina, and it was always on my ‘to do’ list. It really didn’t disappoint, and Lamego is the same but different! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ’Ÿ Thanks for being lovely company ๐Ÿ’•

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  9. How lovely to be there with the wisteria in bloom. We walked up from the bus stop as the funicular wasn’t operating when we were there two years ago as few people were around but I would have liked a ride on it if it had been running.

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    • I liked the moody mural too, Sarah, and the church was more beautiful than I expected. We a
      are at the airport collecting a friend right now so I’ll catch up with you later. Thanks a lot, hon ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’—

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  11. Your pictures just get better and better. Thoroughly enjoyed the walk with you and could almost smell the flowers and hear the water trickling over the stones. I’ve never been to Braga but I can see now that I missed a gem.

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  12. When a walk starts along a stream/river, I’m already happy! And wow, what a view … of both the city and the church! A lovely walk (easy for me to say, I didn’t walk up that hill) – and yes, you certainly deserved that yummy-looking cake!

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  14. Oh Jo, a post that has everything – lovely water photos, murals flowers, a splendid church, a ride in a funicular, ice cream and cake. I am so glad I came along not like a pesky bus or two ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’•

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  15. Wow … what a spectacular walk …. and one good enough for ice cream and cake! The walk along the river was perfect for me – but then you journey with the surprise ride upward for the view and the spectacular church. What an enjoyable day this was for you. Thanks for sharing! …. and we’ve talked about cruising on the Duoro. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • More of the Douro and it’s tributaries to come, Frank. It really is a lovely area. If you stayed in Porto you could do a cruise, and side trip to Braga too. And I thought you were overdue a bit of cake ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ’Ÿ

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  16. I’ve been to many towns and cities in Portugal, but never really made it to Braga! It certainly looks like a fascinating place to explore for a day and two – I am in awe of panoramic city views and beautifully blooming wisteria plants with their cascades of blue to purple flowers that look spectacular hanging from rooftops. Thanks for sharing and have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚ Aiva xx

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    • It’s beautiful, Aiva, in many different ways. I’m not a fan of big cities in the main, but Braga has some really captivating sights and this is certainly one of them. Many thanks for your company ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’Ÿ

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