|Tom and I are awed at the fact that just a few days ago we didn't know Sintra existed. It is just a few miles North of Cascais. One of those old hill towns we've come to know in Europe, Sintra is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. It dates back to the old "BC" days but though the Millennia much of the oldest historic details were lost. There are many ancient sites to visit here the biggest of which is the Palacios de Pena. This began as a Convent de Pena and then in the 1500's was given to the religious sect to become a Monastery. (The deep red building in the photos is the original building that was they Monastery.) This remained a monastery until 1834 when the monks vacated the property. It was sold to the King of Portugal in 1838 who began to restore the building which was in ruin (mostly due to the devastating 1755 earthquake in Lisbon estimated to be at the 9.0 level.) The King revamped the Monastery and then proceeded to add the entire new section which is much larger than the original Monastery. Portuguese Monarchy ended in 1910 and the property was turned over to the State.
The Palacios Pena is was on the top of a hill. Kind of scary slowing winding our way up the mountain in a serpentine-like fashion. Trip down the hill was much more enjoyable in rickety 3-wheeled putt putt 5 seater scooter. The engine knocked all the way down the hill and when it needed to go up a little it really started knocking and sputtering. Tom was making body gyrations as if he was helping to move it along. Tom was not a fan of the transportation at all, I on the other hand loved it.
Their you have it my friend and family one teeny tiny part of Sintra. There was several other Palacios (some with tunnels through the mountains connecting.) there is also the ruins of a Moorish Castle (pictured here).
We had lunch in the Old Town in Sintra at the Café Paris. (just seemed right) and ended up being seated next to actual Americans! Don and Helen Hodges from Santa Cruz it turned out. We sat for hours chatting about our trips and our homes and family, what a treat sitting there in the middle of a plaza picturesque scenery all around and much people watching. Sintra was so much fun and Tom and felt we really made the most of our short stray in Portugal.