Stairway to Heaven

May 18th ~ Medieval Portugal Tour

Guimaraes, Portugal

Guimaraes, Portugal

Editors note: In “Real Time” I am now recovered from my cold and a week has passed by in the blink of an eye. I simply needed to conserve my energy, go to bed early, enjoy the days, and take a ton of pictures. Hopefully I can recreate some of the amazing days we experienced on the balance of our time in Portugal. The date, May 18th, is the day the actual events took place. Playing “catch-up” is not quite as good as writing on the fly, as I know details are lost, and the little moments have already gone missing, but at least the pictures will help jog my memories as I try to get up to date.

On May 18th, we joined the optional Medieval Portugal tour.

Our first stop was in the city of Guimarães which has a historical importance due to the role the city played in the foundation of Portugal.

“The city is often referred to as the “birthplace of the Portuguese nationality” or “the cradle city” …because it is widely believed that Portugal’s first King, Afonso Henriques, was born there.” ~ Wikipedia

The Castelo de Guimaraes was built in the 10th century. It was primarily a defensive military fortification to protect the monastery from the Moors and Norsemen.

Castelo de Guimaraes

Castelo de Guimaraes

I can understand why this is considered a Medieval tour, as one really does get a feeling of stepping back in time.


Balconies of iron

We headed inland to the heart of Minho province to enjoy the former Roman ‘Bracara Augusta’, today known as Braga.

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Another short bus ride brought us to the outskirts of town. Most of us chose to take the funicular to the top of the 1,300 foot high hill of Bom Jesus, to overlook the city of Braga and the famous Holy Way staircase.

Finicular ride

Funicular ride

Tim and another couple walked (or in Tim’s case, ran) up the approximately 600 step stairway to meet us at the top.

At the top is a church that sits on the foundation of prior churches, dating as far back as the late 12th century. In 1629 a pilgrimage church, Bom Jesus do Monte, (which means Good Jesus of the Mount) was built dedicated to the Bom Jesus (Good Jesus), with six chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ. It is one of the most popular place of pilgrimage in the north of Portugal.

Bom Jesus do Monte

Bom Jesus do Monte

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The view overlooking Braga

The view overlooking Braga

We all walked the steps down where we took time to admire the many statuary and religious icons along the way.

Many carvings decorated the stairway

Many carvings and fountains decorated the stairway

Looking back up

Looking back up the Holy Way Staircase

Then we entered into a forested walkway to continue back to the bus.

One of several buildings along the way

One of several buildings along the way

My cold was probably at its worst today. I was filled with cold meds to keep me going which caused (allowed) me to sleep on the bus along the journey. Much of the facts and figures our guide shared were lost to me in my addled fog, but at least I got to see the sights.

Overnight: Porto

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that even though I was not at my best, I did get to experience walking the Holy Way Staircase and enjoy the charming Medieval towns of Braga and Guimaraes.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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12 Responses to Stairway to Heaven

  1. Sounds to me like you did a great job of traveling under-the-weather. Glad your recovered 🙂


  2. Trish Hatcher says:

    So beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing. Glad to hear you are feeling better. Today at work I met someone who also adores Gate 1 small group tours.


  3. Trish Hatcher says:

    PS….that jewelry looks so cool. What is it made from?


    • Gold or silver filigree is very popular in this region. The story goes that in the old days when the sailers departed for long sea voyages that the wives or ladies who were left behind would make elaborate stitchery handkerchief with hearts and messages on them. When the men returned with gold, they would duplicate the heart pattern in gold filigree and present it to the lady that had waited for their safe return.


  4. GeorgieMoon says:

    I have only ever been to Lisbon, and for one day only. Portugal looks like a place to explore further. I love a funicular railway. Great photos again, I’m enjoying your travels.


  5. ardysez says:

    Glad to read you are recovered.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing! I don’t know this part of Portugal, yet. When I was recently in the Alentejo we visited Mediaeval castles along the border with Spain. The Romans and the Moors were also there, and their prehistoric predecessors – Portugal is a surprising and amazing country.


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