Stray Dogs and Noisy Nights
Tomar is a goddamned noisy town. I went there for rest and relaxation, and while it was a relaxing town the noise levels prevented me from getting the perfect rest. Apart from the incessant humming of the air conditioning system outside my window, the stray dogs of the city gathered together nearby for a night long howl. Despite the banging and shouting of equally frustrated locals, the dogs were not to be silenced, and their cacophony kept up all night.
The stray dog problem is not serious, but is noticeable. I found unowned dogs roaming many parts of the city, or sleeping sweetly in the sun. None of them were aggressive, nor worrying like those I saw on the streets of some Asian cities, but it made me wonder about the levels of hygiene in the city. I guessed it might be a situation similar to that in London before the Black Death broke out: it's better to have dogs and cats roaming the streets than the rats that would break out if you had them put down. Still, it was sweet to see a tiny wild kitten poke its head out from the gap under a building near the river, to mew in fear at a nearby barking dog.
Tomar is so safe that children play in the center of town unaccompanied by adults until late into the night. The locals were also very welcoming of foreigners, and seemed genuinely keen to encourage tourists into the town, and not just the convent, and to tell you all about it. Even though not many of them spoke English (more French) they were helpful and attentive.