Sintra - Daytrip from Lisbon

Trip Start Apr 20, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2009

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Friday, April 24, 2009

Alright, as promised, here is my update for my daytrip to Sintra. It was absolutely gorgeous!!! Sintra is a small town about a 45 minute train ride outside of Lisbon, lots of GREEN hills and some old hilltop castles (one in ruins from the old Moorish rulers and another that was a monestary and then a royal residence.) There are many other houses and the ugly looking royal palace in town (seriously, on the outside it looks like some sort of old factory type building!), but I only had time to see some things since I did a lot of hiking. But I saw the three main things I wanted to see : the Moorish castle ruins, Pena Palace, and Quinta da Regelaria.

So once my train got in town, I hiked up to the Moorish castle ruins. Very neat to walk along the top of the walls and towers that are still standing. What I want to know is how they built it in the first place! Insane... I about died on the hike up, pretty steep. Plus the fact that I am not in the best of shape. And then all those stairs at the castle! Up and down, up and down, up and down - they must have had wonderful looking legs! So if you decide to visit and do the hike, by all means go for it because itīs beautiful, but bring more water than you think you will need because you WILL need every last drop! 

After that, I continued hiking up to Pena Palace. It looks crazy on the outside, very colorful. The inside rooms were gorgeous, but you canīt take pictures... The queenīs quarters and even the ladies in waiting rooms were so pretty and I would not have minded waking up with the view that they had from the windows! The Arab Room was also elaborately decorated, mainly just the walls when you walk in capture your attention, painted to look like, well... I donīt really know how to describe it... Kinda like a fresco that covered the entire room.

Anyway, some girls I had met up with took the bus tour and caught that back into town. I - on the other hand - literally took a trail run back down the mountain. I think it took me about 30 minutes running back into town, whereas it took about an hour and a half to do all the hiking up. At least there was a public fountain at the bottom where I could get a drink - not a drinking fountain, but a town fountain with drinkable water. : )

I grabbed lunch (salted cob with potatoes and onions - typical dish of the area and really good, plus it came with some kind of bean soup that was amazing!) and then headed to Quinta de Reglaria. SO COOL! It was this rich old mans house who built up these elaborate grounds around his place, complete with a church, grottoes, underground tunnels, and a Templar initiation well! And walking about the palace, there werenīt all the typical red ropes and plastic barricades - you could pretty much go everywhere, even up the spiral staircases to the rooftop tower balconies. It was so neat! I felt like young nobility frolicking about the palace grounds!


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