Friday, August 2, 2019

700 Steps to Jesus

700 Steps up there
Braga has a lot of churches, and apparently it is the oldest Christian city in Portugal. I was surprised to see so many churches, because in Cascais I did not notice them at all. You do not need a watch in Braga because the churches ring a bell every hour. One of the most famous religious sites in called Bom Jesus do Monte, a pilgrimage site where the devote were challenged to climb 700 steps up a mountain to reach the Church of Bom Jesus.

This site is located out of town, but we bought a Hop-on-hop-off bus tour and this was included in the tour. Fortunately, also included in the price of the bus ticket was the admission to the water powered funicular that bypasses the steps and takes you right to the top. In the interest of saving my aging knees, and Regis' faulty foot, we decided to take the easy way up.

At the top is a spectacular church and surprisingly, some beautiful period hotels. I guess the pilgrims did need somewhere to stay after their climb up the mountain. You can see how it would have been a peaceful religious place with the beautiful church, the gardens and the many water features, but now with hundreds of tourists it has become crowded, noisy, and commercial. The site is still beautiful with a spectacular view out over Braga and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, but the addition of cafes, and gift shops do lessen the solemn religious aspect of the site.

After exploring the church and the building at the top, we decided to take the stairs back down. Had to experience the pilgrimage a little bit. Apparently there are a total of 700 steps involved; I was not counting so it could be 700 return, but it was a lot of steps and once you got down the main stairway, there were a series of walkways and steps leading to the “Stations of the Cross” which pilgrims would have had to stop and worship at on their way to the top.

We managed to time our decent perfectly and the yellow bus arrived just as we got back to the bus stop at the bottom. However, silly me went for a walk later in the day and discovered the old Castle Keep was open to visitors, so I ended up walking up and down another 160 steps in the afternoon as well as the four flights to the apartment – so much for taking care of the old knees. AND then regis told me about the 100 steps to the apartment in Porto . . . . .
The Finicular to the top

Incredible Views

Water Features

Herb Garden?

Another amazing view

Beautiful Gardens

Damn Tourists blocking the Views

The Steps on the way down

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Gorgeous views! Thanks for the pictures 😀
    Nice find!! I always read the posts first and then look at the pictures and I almost couldn't wait to see the pictures of the views and the gardens and stairs. You didn't disappoint 😀