Day 25 = Thursday, April 5, 2012
It’s a good thing I write the blog posts in this family, because I know that neither of my fellow travelers would do justice to how much I loved this place: O Mosteiro de São Martinho de Tibães, the Monastery of St. Martin of a little town called Tibães.
Originally established in the 11th century, the monastery was occupied by the Benedictines from the 12th century onward. The current chapel and cloister date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
When male religious orders were banned in Portugal in 1834, the entire property was sold at auction. Most of its treasures – paintings, sculpture, valuable books – were lost, and over time the buildings fell into disrepair.
In 1944, the monastery was designated a “Public Interest,” but was not acquired by the Portuguese government until 1986, when it began to be restored.
I absolutely fell in love with this place. It was virtually deserted, and the sense of being the only people there was really powerful. Actually, because David and Quinland don’t like to proceed at my very-slow pace, I felt completely alone. Some people may or may not have used these moments of solitude to sneak the little cloth Frisbee out of the camera bag and play a little Frisbee in the hall. However, I would not dream of propagating such unsubstantiated rumors.
Besides, that’s not a Frisbee in her hands… that’s a slingshot. (I know for a fact the slingshot did not get used indoors.)
Meanwhile, I wandered from room to room – most of them empty – just absorbing the serenity of the place. Would it have been this quiet back in the day? Probably not, what with friars going about their daily business. (Those Benedictines have quite a busy schedule to keep up!)
I took a million photos here, though we have culled it down to about 75 for future scrapbooking purposes. This is such a brief look at the place, but I wanted you to get a sense of how I felt when I was there. (Because I am Lori, and how something feels is infinitely more important than how it actually is. In my personal opinion. Yes, that was for you, my little Girl Scouts.)
The monastery was not without its beautifully-finished spaces; sometimes you’d come around a corner or peek in the closet of an empty room and see something completely unexpected.
We’ve seen other buildings undergoing reconstruction – Monserrate, for example – but this was different. It was so early in the process that most of the monastery was still rough and unfinished. I was far more impressed by seeing its “guts” than I have been at seeing far more glorious places, restored or original.
Finally, I made it outside to where David and Q were patiently waiting for me, exploring the grounds (and playing Frisbee). Look at that nice husband, carrying my bag for me.
I was in a fabulous mood.
Maybe a little too fabulous.
Monastery joy: deserted, lovely, under construction. Fabulous gardens and vineyards, all rustic and real, not tended and manicured. Happy Lori.
The day’s not even over yet. There was much more going on in Braga that night!