Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016: Sintra, Portugal

I have not written anything about Sintra, other than that it is a mountainous area.  Due to being in the mountains it is much cooler in the summer, when the temperatures are HOT down in Lisbon.  So the kings, and wealthy, built castles, palaces, mansions and chalets, up here in the cool of the mountains.  The earlier castles were actually military fortresses, but later they were to entertain and impress!
The historical village of Sintra is below one of the most impressive Palaces – Pena.  Also above the village are ruins of a Moorish castle, which we can see from our accommodations.   This morning we drove part-way up the mountain to a parking area between the entrances of the two castle.  After parking we began walking! Mostly up-hill!! There really are no flat places in this area!  We walked on paths that climbed the mountain until we reached the Palace Pena.  Wow, what a beautiful place! The views of the valley, the coastline villages, and the ocean from there were lovely! We toured the Palace. What a place!
Pena Castle

Castle Chapel

Castle Cloister

After a lunch break, we began walking to the Moorish Castle ruins, which we could see across the valley. Between the Castles are vast Castle Gardens. The Castle Gardens covers a large area, of which we only hiked a small section.  While hiking in the Gardens we basically were coming down the mountain.

At the entrance to the Moorish Castle we began climbing.  And climb we did!  This castle had more steps.  We walked along the narrow fortress walls, climbing steps from one level to the next.  By the time we came back down the mountain we were EXHAUSTED!!! But we made it to the top! 
Moorish Castle

The Castle Gardens

Back at the hotel we crashed, before going to dinner! And now back at the hotel we are catching up on electronic messages, and giving our muscles a chance to rest. 

It was a lovely day, however it was a physical day! 
A look back at the Moorish Castle from Sintra

Rachel with a Tall cold one

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