The most enchanting place I have seen in Portugal is the Bom Jesús. The 17th century cathedral watches over the city of Braga from a majestic place on top of a mountain. But it’s really the details and surroundings that make this place unforgettable. It is a fantastic piece of cultural heritage that Portugal brags here. The perfect place for my boyfriend and me on our first trip to Portugal together, as it is hopelessly romantic.
Us lovebirds chose to climb up the baroque stairs. I recommend everyone to do the same because these steps are the most impressive thing of the whole site! It zigzags up the mountain, its white color standing out from the mega-green surroundings. I love the touch of moss growing on the old walls and the little fountains placed in them. This structure was created in the 18th century and it shows. Every step seems to take you back a decade further in time, leaving behind reality and gradually revealing its view over the valley.
Actually, there is an easier way up. A funicular can take you there, but it takes you just as long. The thing is completely mechanical and works on water. As one of the carriages fill up it becomes heavier than the other and goes down, pulling the other up the mountain. As you can imagine, it goes really slowly. But it is a nice experience for the 19th century vibe you get out of this. I caught myself imagining fancy ladies with wide dresses and gentlemen wearing black felt hats. I guess you cannot take the historian out of me!
Around the church you find yourself a pretty park at your disposal. It has ponds and caves and waterfalls. You can go for long walks getting lost, taking hundreds of turns and bridges. Boyfriends can show off rowing wooden boats, again referring your mind to the Belle Époque. I love details like the old fashioned clock on the tiny house of the boat renter, who was completely in style himself wearing his untended beard.
The church itself, by the way, is nice. It is a baroque building, adorned with religious statues and serenity. But we got distracted by a wedding we had seen in the Medieval church of Braga earlier that day. Now they came to Bom Jesús for the celebrations. We took this opportunity for a social study on Portuguese riches. The girls had pulled out all the stops, making for a colorful bunch. They showed off Versace dresses, extravagant silverware and ankle twisting high-heels (can you imagine on these 18th century cobble stones). They were just as extravagant as the Bom Jesús and they too showed off a kind of Portuguese cultural heritage. But only some of them matched in beauty.