We took a day trip, from Lisbon to the town of Sintra one day. It was a short train ride from Lisbon. In the guidebooks it seems, always, to be described as the "romantic" town of Sintra, and it is certainly beautiful and charming.
There are three very interesting edifices to visit in Sintra, representing different periods of its long history. We started at the top of a large hill at the Pena Palace, built in the 18th century, by the then King Ferdinand. It is a colorful and extravagant place, filled to the brim with detail and whimsy and excess. There is a little sense of "Disney castle" about it and really a visual treat.
From there we wandered down the hill to the very romantic ruins of a Moorish Castle that dates back to the 7th or 8th century. Ray climbed up the many, many steps to the towers. I was tired. I watched from below.
Back down in the little town, we visited the National Palace, which was built in the 14th century and was used for many years as the summer palace. It is stately and grand and famed for the interesting and intricate ceilings.
This room is known as the "Swan Room". Each panel in the ceiling is a different swan painting. We loved Sintra and were exhausted at the end of the day. A lot of walking!
This the last of my place by place travelogue, but I took a lot of photos and you'll be seeing more in the coming weeks. We have been home for a week and a half now, but I still don't feel quite back into my old groove. Every night I dream about Spain. My internal clock has been slow to recover. Little by little my sleep cycle is getting back to Pacific time.
If I have one piece of advice regarding travel, it is simply, Go! See the world. And for heavens sake, don't be afraid. We travel on our own because we like doing it that way, but a lot of people love traveling with a tour. You are warned of pickpockets and scams and it is always wise to keep your wits about you, but we had no problems, other than the one caused by our own ignorance of the passport restrictions of some countries. Thanks for coming along. We had a grand adventure!