P1160147    P1160101        P1160103                        Rajan (my husband) and I have been going to Braga, Portugal, for four years, ever since I wrote a mystery and set it in Braga and then wanted to do follow up research. We have fallen in love with the city and have made some wonderful friends, Carla, Armando, and Beatriz, their daughter who took this middle picture. They call themselves our Portuguese family, and they are much loved friends and a delight.

In our most recent visit (September), they met us at the end of a research day and took us to the famous sanctuary and pilgrimage site, Bon Jesus do Monte, high in the hills. You have to take a funicular to reach it (or drive very steep mountain roads). Picture 1 shows you the base of the beautiful sanctuary with its zig-zag steps and small chapels on each  landing on the way to the cathedral at the top. Pictures 2 & 3 shows us on the funicular and give you some idea of the steepness of the incline.

Once we arrived by funicular, a series of wonders awaited us.

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First of all there was the sanctuary itself, a magnificent piece of Baroque architecture, designed by André Soares, responsible for many of the most beautiful buildings in Portugal. Then, all around, gardens and a parkland have been created with various features. In the picture second from the right, you can see a small gazebo where you can pause to contemplate the peace and quiet.  The picture on the right shows one of the views of the city of Braga below from one of the garden areas.

Below are two views of another little shrine-like area:
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And then there was the magic of the parkland itself.  A lake that goes around the edge of the park and church, and boaters, who were having a wonderful (and cool) time on this very hot day.) Carla and Armando are to the right.

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And more views of the city from this enchanted area:

P1160113      P1160115         P1160128                           And then it was time to go, as they were having us to dinner in their home. We decided to walk down instead of taking the funicular — 650 steps! All along the way were fountains and the chapels I mentioned earlier. The fountains are in the center of each landing and represent Faith, Hope, and Charity. The chapels on either side of each landing represent the stages of the Passion of Christ. Here are a few of pictures, that should give you some idea. Once again, you can see that, from the bottom, all the fountains and statuary line up. It’s breathtaking.

 

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Of the many sights we’ve seen in Braga, this will linger a long, long time. And we are indebted to our good friends for making sure we got to see it.

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How we came to know each other so well is a long story for another post one day. Meanwhile, if you liked this post about Braga you can read earlier posts at my old website, HERE  and HERE and HERE and also a recent post about Viana, Portugal, HERE . 

How about you? Have you made fast friends when you have traveled? People who have become special to you and touched your life in unexpected ways? Do you long to travel abroad or do you like to explore areas closer to where you live? If so, what is your favorite place?

3 thoughts on “A Few Days in Braga, Portugal.

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