Can I take you for a walk somewhere I didn’t like, this week? That’s a little unfair to Viseu. We had just come from lovely Lamego, driving through the serra, with lemon gorse and white heather covering the hills. I wasn’t ready for a bustling city. I wanted to stay in that beautiful countryside. But we were heading south towards home, I had heard good things about Viseu, and it seemed a logical choice for a one night stopover. This was, without doubt, the smartest accommodation of our trip, and yet I had a distinct slouch to my step as we set off to explore.
Probably I should have sought out another Rita, like the lovely lady who showed us Braga, but time was short so, armed with a map, we followed our noses. Our receptionist had pointed out ‘must see’ churches but, truthfully, there were churches everywhere and even I can tire of azulejos sometimes. Honestly!
You can read the captions if you open the gallery
Hard not to feel a little reverence when you step out of bright, noisy city streets and glaring sunshine into the peaceful gloom inhabited by these lovingly created works of art.
We wandered through a busy pedetrianised shopping area and out of the other side to Praca da Republica, where a sweeping wall of tile panels and Restaurante Rossio caught my eye. And another church!
It was tulip time and a small army of lady gardeners were giving full attention to the immaculate flower beds.
Looking at the map I observed that the River Pavia flowed through the city. It’s always my instinct to follow water so we headed downhill in search of a riverside walk. It was actually a bit of a disappointment, being more like a canal at the point where we joined it, but it opened out to a more pleasing vista.
And then, something of a surprise, we came upon the tracks of a steeply rising funicular. We hung about hopefully for a while, but no tram materialised. Nothing for it but to climb the hill, back to the city.
If there was a sight in Viseu not to be missed, I knew that it was the Catedral da Santa Maria. Not especially inviting with its dark granite exterior, the approach is across a huge courtyard. Far more attractive, the Igreja da Misericordia which faces it, but the guide book suggests this is not worth looking inside. Timewise, that made sense for us. By contrast the Cathedral offers cloisters lined with battle scenes, and richly knotted vaulted ceilings.
I have to admit, I was impressed. And the jumble of narrow streets behind the cathedral were a pleasant wander too. I could almost have fancied a little genteel shopping.
But it was time to find our way back to the hotel. Himself had a notion that the Parque do Fontelo would bring us quite close, so we headed for leafy green. You could say that what transpired next was the highlight of the day. We were treated to a shrieking, noisy display from an ostentation of peacocks. Yes, really!
It has to be said that I didn’t really dislike Viseu. It just wasn’t my first choice. And now I’m feeling remarkably generous. I can offer you Doce de casa, a few mini chocolate eggs, or even breakfast, courtesy of the hotel. Help yourself!
Time to put my feet up for a while and share a few walks.
Teresa takes us to her much loved and familiar places :
Something I haven’t tried, but I did tell Sarah I don’t like tea… I hardly think it matters :
I do like an intrepid yomp with Mel, especially from the comfort of my sofa :
Or I could cheat, and hop a train, if Drake will allow it :
Just short of a mountain, these views are superb, Carol :
Ending, as I always like to, in a garden with Jude. A double dose :
Come back next week for a high point in our trip? Have a good one!