25 June, 2019

Portugal - Lisbon, Sintra, Day 4

Ok all... I know, I got behind.  I thought about making one super post, but it was already too long when I got to the end of day 4, so I decided to keep them separate.  So you get two posts back to back!  Or close enough when I finish day 5.

We started our final morning in Lisbon by 1) grabbing our rental car and 2) heading to the ruins of the Carmo Convent in the heart of Lisbon.   You know how I love a ruined church!  Founded in 1389, the complex was abandoned after an earthquake in 1755 caused damage to the convent and destroyed the library.  Now open to the slightly rainy sky, it also houses a nice little museum that has artifacts dating to the pre-Roman era of Lisbon.

After that it was time to head to the little town of Sintra just outside of Lisbon.  Sintra is known for its various castles, manors, and gardens.  And it did not disappoint.  You've seen a couple of days of gloomy skies and black and white photos... Behold Palácio da Pena.  In almost too vivid colors, I was almost relieved when I couldn't take photos inside. 

Originally created as a quiet monastery at the top of the hill, it was the sight of royal pilgrimages from 1493.  It too was almost completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1755, but was rescued by Ferdinand II in 1838 along with the Castle of the Moors.  (we'll get there in a minute)  Construction was finished in 1854.

Having taken an uber to get to this first castle, we then walked down the hill to Castelo dos Mouros which is technically part of the grounds of the Pena Palace.  It's a ruin, but absolutely stunning.  First... a few shots of Pena Palace from the heights of the Palace of the Moors.

So back to the Castle of the Moors... The walk up to the castle itself is a fairytale land of moss covered boulders and creatures caught in stone.  With hidden towers poking out from between the trees.

And then inside the castle... we had a choice, go left or right... we went left.... and ALL the way to the very top.  You can see the progression in height.  Plus a few of the most amazing views of the town of Sintra.  (and a sneak peek at the last stop in Sintra Quinta da Regaleira )

But wait.... we weren't even done yet.  We took the most amazing tuk tuk ride, flying down the mountain to get to the National Palace (Palácio Nacional de Sintra)

First here's a quick look back up at the Palace of the Moors from the center of town

We took a short walk through a little of town before we got to the National Palace.  The colors of this country continue to amaze me.

At last, the National Palace!

Not quite as wild as the last two, but still beautiful inside and out.  Ok I know it's a lot, but there were so many amazing details!!

Would you believe we still went wine (port) tasting and to dinner after this?  Yes, it was a long day.  Here are the final few sunset photos to prove it.

And now... even though I owe you day 5.... And it's so worth it, trust me.  I'm going to go to bed and make you wait one more day.  You'll have it tomorrow my faithful readers!  Goodnight!

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