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Trip Report Trip report part 3: our journey to the enchanted/haunted forest of Bussaco

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So we started our 6th day in Portugal visiting the Cathedral in Evora which was truly inspiring and beautiful - a lovely spiritual energy. Our plan was to drive to Villa Vicosa, see the Palace of the Braganca's and then head over to Bussaco. Unfortunately I delayed our departure while searching for a cork purse (just had to have one) and we didn't read the small print in the guidebook so when we arrived it was lunchtime and all was closed. no problem we thought, we found a little place for lunch and figured we had an hour to see things before we had to hit the road. Our second mistake was not looking carefully at what we were searching for and thus spent an hour seeing a museum of mounted hunting trophies before we realized we were in the wrong place. The very nice guide directed us to the palace, but alas they require one to take a guided tour and we did not have the time. Most frustrating. It looked like it would have been wonderful.

Then began the true adventure. First the Gps couldn't locate the palace hotel Bussaco and we were nervous to try to navigate the small roads on our own. Finally it found it, and started us off. We figured it would take us back to the A6 and from there to the A1. Not so. We found ourselves on smaller and smaller roads in villages not even on the map. Finally we realized it was taking us up the Eastern border of Portugal by Portalegre. Once on a larger road the ride became easier and extremely beautifull. One of those accidental journeys that are the best part of a trip. We really enjoyed the winding ride. We ended up on the A23 I think and then to the A13. Somehow we missed our turnoff around Coimbre however and suddenly the highway just ended. We had to turn someway so we guessed right and then things really got weird. The Gps stopped working and the road wound down and down into empty forest, with a road too narrrow to turn around on. We tried the phone navigator and the gps again once it picked up a signal. they were agreeing which was good - until they took us to a road which stopped due to construction. ay yi yi yi yi. It was geting on towards 8 o'clock. we should have been almost there , but we didn't know where there was. In desperation we stopped in a little village at a restaurant (I desperately needed the wc by then- oh by the way never use the wc on the highways unless it is at a full rest stop - uggg). no one at the restaurant spoke English but they all gathered around and with much discussion and pointing gave us directions - very sweet and helpful.

after a few more windy wooded roads we at last arrived weary and hungry and quite stressed at the Palace Hotel Bussaco. What an amazing place. It's the closest thing to Cinderella's castle you will ever stay at. The restaurant was quite elegant, and the staff very sweet and helpful. The room was ordinary, with a weird shower again, but hey, you could see castle battlements from your bathroom window so who's complaining.

The next day we visited the miiitary museum that tells the story of the Duke of Wellington's victory over Marshall Messina in the penninsular war (Napoleonic wars). As we are history buffs it was very exciting to stand on the ground the battle was fought on. and the woods were lovely dark and deep - still recovering from a cyclone 10 years ago. We enjoyed our stay at Bussaco very much - just wish they had sent us directions in advance (:.

The next day we drove to Porto where we are currently staying in the Sheraton. Must admit it has been lovely to have a comfortable bed and a fully functioning (by American standards) bathroom.
and now to sleep - more later

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