Cromeleque dos Almendres
August 25, 2015
Gordon: “Doesn’t clothing seem somewhat inappropriate at a Neolithic religious site?” I asked rhetorically.  And since we were the only people at the site, though we had passed a quartet of shaggy Druids on the way in, it was indeed possible to commune with the stones in a more natural manner.  

The Cromeleque dos Almendres is the largest Neolithic stone circle on the Iberian peninsula and we were fortunate to have it entirely to ourselves in the beautiful early morning light.  Set on an east facing hillside, it was constructed and modified during the period from 6,000 to 3,000 years ago.  Several of the stones have petroglyphs on them.  Remarkably, the Cromoleque dos Almendres was not recognized and investigated by an archeologist until 1964.  The area around Évora is studded with megaliths, including dolmens, menhirs and cromlechs.
As we were preparing to depart from the site, once again fully clothed, a solitary jogger trotted up, a rare enough sight in rural Portugal, wordlessly did some stretches against one of the standing stones, and then jogged off.  It felt as though we had somehow stumbled upon the set of a Jim Jarmusch film.

Ruth: In 2300 kms  of cycling we have only rarely encountered other cycle tourists. The Portuguese love cycling, but like the Italians it is day rides not touring. The looks we get from passing motorists only confirms my sense that our form of travel in Portugal is still quite unusual.  We are still surprised by this because Portugal is a fabulous place to tour on bikes.  This morning we spotted a lone woman hand pedalling her wheelchair/bike up a steep grade on the highway ahead of us. As we passed her on the climb we said hello and cheered her on, but then I realized she had a gear bag and map.  I quickly told Gord we have to stop and talk to her. Sylviana is from Austria; no, I mean she is from Austria and has hand peddled all the way here in the same time we have been touring! She is on her way to Lisbon to do the Camino Portuguese ( she has already done a number of the other Routes to Santiago).


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