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Day 4: Tomar

Today was a planned day off from walking. Tomar was famous for it’s knights, and the Knights Templar Castle, as well as the convent, Convento de Cristo. However there were also more pressing things to do, wash my clothes and pick up something to help the blister under my foot.

I slept until 8 o’clock, sorted my laundry and walked the two floors down the stairs for a fine breakfast. An hour later I was on my way out to the closest launderette, which by chance was close to a pharmacy in which I purchased some cotton pads and hydrogen peroxide to treat my ailing feet. Back at the launderette, when I emptied the washing machine I noticed that I had left my earbuds in my trouser pocket, so they had been washed as well. Can you imagine that this was the second time that has happened for me. I did exactly the same in Japan. Luckily this time, like in Japan, they still played, but amazing that I’m not smarter and make the same mistake twice.

Back at the hotel I cleaned and padded the sores and left a walk around the convent and castle. 

The town of Tomar was created inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, the fourth Grand Master of the Knights Templar of Portugal in the late 12th century. Tomar was the last Templar town to be commissioned for construction and one of Portugal’s historical jewels. The town was especially important in the 15th century when it was a center of Portuguese overseas expansion under Henry the Navigator, the Grand Master of the Order of Christ, successor organisation to the Knights Templar in Portugal, when they were disbanded by the Pope.

The castle and convent were up the hill behind the main square and the church of Sao Joao Baptista (closed whilst being renovated, but should be worth a visit) and the Town Hall.

The convent is next door to the castle.

The highlight of the convent is undoubtedly the breathtaking 12th century rotunda, which is difficult to show in a photo – he is my best shot,

I walked around town, and sat in the park and enjoyed the great weather. I visited the bus station to see if there were buses to Fatima, if my blistered sole wasn’t up to it. I rounded the afternoon off with pancakes and lemon (unheard of in Portugal). The pancakes were red, probably due to Valentine’s Day.

I cleaned up my feet and rested them for a couple of hours whilst I  transferred my pictures from the camera to the phone.

Via Trip Advisor I’d found two recommended restaurants close to the hotel and asked the lady at reception which I should choose. She recommended Cervejaria Do Fernando, which was 20m away and an excellent choice.

At 19.30 it was packed with locals, and many came afterwards. It was run by what I assume are a couple, where the wife had precision control over 30 two person tables. Everything was served in record time, despite it being packed. I’d ordered sirloin, that came with chips, rice, salat and an egg on top of the steak, and it was the best sirloin I recall ever eating. I would go back to Tomar just for this!

I watched Bayern outclass Paris in the Champions League before falling a sleep.

Whilst my right leg seems to be holding out, the blister under my left foot is a big concern. I am supposed to walk to Fatima tomorrow, the stage I have most looked forward to. But its 30, by what I have read, very strenuous kilometers. I checked the bus times whilst in town, so there is an alternative B, but I need to make that decision before I start walking, as once out there, there are no alternatives.

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