Today, Jake and I took the bus 1 hour north to the coastal town of Viana do Castelo to see something truly spectacular… the Basilica Sanctuary of Santa Luzia. We took the funicular up the mountain for 3€ (round trip ticket and so worth it). Perched high up on the hills overlooking the town, it is a sight to behold. The crowds were very light this day, much to my delight, and we practically had the church to ourselves. The rose windows (3 of them) are massive and gorgeous as is the alter and the painted stations of the cross encircling it in the chancel. See Gallery/World Windows for all photos.
Jake and I climbed to the top of the sanctuary above the dome for the 360° view up the river and up and down the Portugal coast.. The climb was exhilarating with the final 10 meters of the spiral staircase akin to a squirrel squeezing up through a paper towel tube…very tight.. Then stepping out onto the narrow cupola at 300 meters above sea level just took my breath away. Hard to top that for a “closer to heaven” experience.
Back down to earth, we filled the last hour waiting for the return bus back to Porto strolling through the ancient town of Viana do Castelo. Dating to the 1200s, this town was a strategic provisional stop point for the ships of the Portuguese discovery missions.
Arriving back in Porto just as Monica and Maneau were returning from a movie matinee to see “A Star is Born”, we shared stories over glasses of wine and ordered online delivery pizza from Pizza.com Arte. We were guessing at the ingredients and hoped we weren’t ordering live chickens or goats (lots of laughs).
Here are the photo highlights of Day 16 – Viana do Castelo