Sintra today

Sintra is about 45 minutes from downtown Lisbon. It had been my intention to go there today so imagine my delight when a young lady sitting across from me at the breakfast table confided that she was going there. She seemed a very organized person who actually had a plan of how to get there. I had no plan at all and timidly asked if we might at least go to the train station together. “In 15 minutes” . I was ready! We still managed to be too late for the train but, wonder of wonders, my new friend understood all about Uber too and in a few minutes we were speeding to Sintra.

The summer palace of kingS

Sintra has its own micro climate that involves humidity and fog. We had a few doubts that rain might set in, but no, the day turned out to be fair and even a little hot. Sintra is set in a large natural park full of historical buildings. We decided to visit the palace and the Moorish Castle. The palace was over the top. It was remodelled by a king Ferdinand (?) a 19th century romantic pseudo gothic monarch. He had a vivid imagination obviously and the means to indulge his taste.

Multi-creature over the door

Finny feet and branches for arms? OK your majesty, whatever you say! The carving and ornamentation was overwhelming. A minimalist he was not!

Who did the dusting?

After indulging in the palace decor my companion , Johanna, and I retired to the woods to treck up to the Moorish Castle. It was quite the climb but we managed it.

Spring is sprung in Sintra

The Moors were not averse to steps it seems but once you’re half way there, what is the use of giving up? The battlements were impressive and lots of archaeological work had been done, even revealing a Neolithic settlement.

The battlements

Seen from the distance, it looks doable. Hmmm…glad I was wearing good shoes and had a kind young person to encourage me.

Showing the Moorish flag!

We emerged victorious and faced the descent. Luckily Johanna found a path down which we took rather braving the uneven steps. No handrail, and I didn’t think to bring the famous poles.

We indulged in another Uber ride home and begged our knees for forgiveness. I am so glad we went. So glad Johanna agreed to allow me to accompany her, so glad to have had the privilege of seeing this amazing place. Tomorrow Porto!

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