9/29 – Our guidebook tells us that the most visited place in Portugal is the church of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga, which is a one hour bus ride from where we are in Barcelos. As we don’t plan to be back here any time soon, we thought we’d better see it while we’re in the neighborhood.
First, let me confess that I’ve been calling this place Da Bomb Jesus – because it’s gotta be da bomb! So I had to ask for a lesson on proper pronunciation before we set out. As close as I can spell it phonetically, it is called Bon Jay-ZOOSH. The nice lady at the tourist office made me say it three times, and suggested that I open my mouth wider when I speak.
So we caught the 8am bus to Braga, which is the third largest city in Portugal, then caught a local bus to take us to Good Jesus of the Mount. Once there, we had the option of walking up the 400 feet of steps, or taking the only water driven funicular in Portugal, which has been in operation since 1888. We opted to ride up and then walk down.
The funicular consists of two trolley cars. The one at the top is weighted with water, which makes it head downhill, thereby pulling the other one uphill. That explanation was longer than the ride:
Here is the church, which includes a reliquary chapel and the displayed remains of Sao Clemente:
Reliquary chapel, containing bones of saints:
A beautiful Virgin:
Sao Clemente – I can’t find any info on a Portuguese St. Clement, so not sure who this guy might be:
Continuing up the hill beyond the church is a serenely beautiful park, allowing time for quiet reflection:
The view from the top, through the morning mist:
The leisurely walk down, which included fountains of the five senses:
Life size dioramas of the passion story:
And lots of statues and steps. Bom Jesus is a pilgrimage site, and penitents walk up the many flights of zig-zag steps on their knees, but we didn’t see any today:
A beautiful day!