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Sintra - Castles in the Air

sunny 25 °C

High above the clouds on a mountain overlooking a distant Lisbon is the royal palace of Pena - claimed to be one of the most romantic places on earth. Originally a Moorish fortress, it became a monastery in the 16th century before being completely rebuilt and refurbished as a lavish palace for King Ferdinand in the 1840s. Here’s the opulent dining room…

The Palacio de Pena is a fairytale castle with Hollywood leanings and the mixture of Gothic and Rococo can be a little overwhelming at times…

Some of the ceilings are definitely a little over the top…
At the foot of the castle, clinging to the steep sides of the mountain, lies the old city of Sintra, where terrifyingly narrow streets and vertiginous stone stairways snake up and down the mountainsides…

The Sintra area simply bristles with historic castles, palaces and mansions and its close proximity to Lisbon guarantees swarms of daytrippers. So, to avoid the crowds, we stayed in Sintra and hit the sites before the tour buses arrived and after they had left. Without the daily throngs of sightseers Sintra is a sleepy little place where you can wander the great halls and bedrooms of the palaces without bumping into anyone but an occasional bored docent…
The Swan Room in the National Palace in the centre of the town is truly spectacular when there is no one to block the view…

This is the equally deserted bedroom of the King. The elaborate azulejo wall tiles date from 1530..
Azulejos are traditional tin glazed blue tiles that have been used to adorn churches and grand houses in Portugal for more than five centuries. We wonder what the King would have made of the fact that today azulejos are frequently used to decorate Portuguese railway stations and public toilets!

Posted by Hawkson 07:02 Archived in Portugal

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Such opulence! Imagine a ceiling of swans. Will we see an opulent ceiling in the new studio to come? Thank you for this grand tour.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Beautiful pictures of the castle. Transports me to a different time and place, particularly the one of the castle in the air. Did you take these pictures with your camera?

by Janet

Wow...you two really do know how to navigate around the touristy areas, and make it seem unique and wonderful...beautiful pics!
hugs, Sharron

by Sharron

Holy Cow, your photography is outstanding.. (james or Sheila?) I do recognize Jim's poetic stringing of words; thank you for it all.
I think our fog season might be over...

by gottfried

Photos give a very real feel of your experience very nicely presented

by david

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