Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SINTRA 12/13/2013


We found a driver who would take us up the coast of Portugal to see Cascais and Sintra and more.  He was just amazing, with more information than I could record or process or remember.  No matter where we traveled he had the history, the implications, and interesting details and stories.  It was a fine day.

While driving out of Lisbon, our guide talked about the demography.  Most of the people who work in Lisbon live in the suburbs and commute.  Housing is much cheaper. 2.5 million live in the total area of Lisbon and suburbs;  only 560,000 live in the city itself.   So there is a huge rush hour.  We avoided it by going out of  Lisbon in the morning, but we could see the cars backed up on the other side of the expressway coming if for the workday.

Our first destination was Sintra and a castle there.

Before heading to see the Town Castle we stopped to look around on a short, steep street and to sample the famous guide recommended pillow pastry with café at Piriquita.

 Here is a short video showing these pillow pastries, even in one shot at the place we visited.

Sintra is a favorite destination for Portuguese, so there are little tourist shops in the area.  They were a bit overpriced.

We did NOT go to the Café Paris, however, I liked the mix of colors in building walls, shingles, tiles and a tree  in this shot of one of the downtown streets.

he National Palace of Sintra or Palácio da Vila (Town Palace) and was one of the Portuguese royal palaces. It is located in the centre of the town. Building started in the 15th century.  The designer is unkown, but it considered to be organic architecture because of the way the disparate buildings are joined.

There was more than one choice for a visit, but we thought one would be enough for us and chose this one

We saw one of the other choices high up on a hill and photographed it.

 Soon after we got a clear photo a mist moved in.

Here was the palace of our choice:

We found our delightful and since photographs were allowed, we caught a number of wonderful images

 I loved these fish

 The ceilings were really unique

Here was the chapel where the royal family prayed.

 Here again is one of those fine writing tables
 Dove covered walls
A great dove design and another of leaves below.  I missed a photograph of a corn tile design.  This perhaps the largest collection of tiled walls in Portugal.  A great pick for me as this tile, as I knew it would be, was one of my favorite parts of the visit.

Here is the holy family resting during the flight to Egypt

Fish fountains.  One of my favorites

The Philospher is an original by a famous Italian who painted in Spain, Jusepe de Ribera.
Here is an interesting comment in Spanish from the mathematical angle

I remembered having one of his paintings as my favorite in the Prado over 40 years ago. 
Elizabeth was amazed I could remember that, but I'm not. 
It was 40 years ago, not last week.

We were surprised to see that the beds were so large.  They were wonderfully ornate.
 This kitchen was a delight. It had two chimneys and was so spacious as compared to other ancient kitchens we have visited on our travels.

On our way out  of Sintra we passed through National Forest that is protected.  In the old days this contained deer and bear and other wildlife and some of it was hunted by royalty and rich who visited the area.  However, there is little here now.  I thought that very odd since our deer manage to adapt to people and civilized areas.  Here was acres of protected wild land that could not be developed and yet no deer.  There may be some rabbits and some wild boar and fox.
In the past, the first owners of the land and huge estates were perfectly happy that the land was being protected.  However, now the current owners would probably better like to develop their land and they are restricted.


  1. Enjoying your blog, we go to Portugal in late Oct.
    What is the name of this castle or royal home that you visited ?
    Thanks, Lundy

  2. I can't remember the name, but the one we visited and photographed is right there in the center of town. There are others set outside the town, but you can't miss this one.

  3. We did not go to this one featured first on this blog. It was probably the most popular.

  4. I think this is the one we visited and some of my photos match images of this place.

  5. Thanks for the links. The never ending voyage photo blog is a real treat

  6. Thanks for that info...I agree, it looks like the one. I love the tiles in the photo of the chapel. Hope I get to go there.


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