8/24 – we are in Lisbon for one more day. What should we see? Not too far away is the Igreja Sao Roque, or the Church of Saint Rocco. This is the oldest Jesuit church in Portugal, and perhaps the most ornate. At the time it was being built (1700s), the Portuguese explorers were bringing more gold and jewels home from Brazil and the new world than anyone knew what to do with. Many of the riches ended up here. Here is one of the large gold candlesticks, over six feet tall:
Here is a bone of Sao Roque himself, in a gold reliquary:
This church has so many saint parts, that there are two reliquary chapels on either side of the main altar, one for male bones, and one for female bones:
If you are not familiar with Saint Rocco, he is always depicted as having sores on his leg, and is accompanied by a dog offering him a loaf of bread:
We are staying at the Lisbon Amazing Hostel, so every morning we meet different people at breakfast. Today we met a Chinese couple who are going to grad school in Milan, and have come to Portugal for a summer holiday. They are getting Masters degrees in business. It turns out that David (his chosen Anglican name) already owns several factories, and the degree will help them to run the companies better. As we ate toast and jam, he asked us what type of vegetable oil was the healthiest – he was thinking of starting another company to import healthy oil to China! We marveled at his ingenuity.
As an antidote to the noise and crowds of Lisbon, we are taking the train 30 minutes west to the delightful town of Sintra, where we will spend several days walking through gardens and castles before resuming our Caminho. The New York Times featured a travel section on Sintra just last week, so we fear it is no longer an undiscovered idyll, but we shall see!