Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sintra, The Summer Palace Hill Retreat For Royalty And The Rich. 15 October 2013


             Our third day of tourism involved catching a bus from Cascais up to the summer retreat in the hills of Sintra. Something akin to the hill stations of India. We thought that this was going to be an easy days visit but turned out to be the most exhausting and fascinating of all three days. We arrived in Sintras historic town centre to find a large white imposing building which turned out to be the Royal Palace on Republic Square. It was the residence of the Portuguese Royal Family for about 8 Centuries. The interior rooms were stunning and many of the Royal Families artefacts were in the various rooms. 

Sintra Town Centre With Moorish Castle On Hilltop
(Many Similarities With Darjeeling!)
Entrance Hall
Gallery
 Dinning Hall
Entertaining Gallery
National Palace Entrance
      Another stop on our circular bus route up to the top of the hill at 500m above sea level delivered us to the entrance gate of Pena Palace. We then had a hard, long climb up the hill to the Palace which is a magnificent example of Portuguese romantic style. It was originally a monastry that was obtained by Ferdinand 11 and built in 1839 incorporating the monastry. It was designed by a German and built by Don Ferdinand 11 who was a Duke of Saxo-Coburg-Gotha origin who married the Queen of Portugal. It is a weird and wondereful Disneyland style palace and is a must to visit if in Lisbon. 

Pena Palace Entrance
Ginny Under The Internal Palace Entry
Ginny With View From Pena Palace
Walkways Around The Turrets
View Of Moorish Castle From Pena Palace
Internal Courtyard
Dinning Hall
Detailed Marble Work In India Room
Palace Exterior
Palace Kitchen
Detailed Ceiling Work
Queens Bedroom
     After a bite to eat at the Palace, we walked down to the Moorish Castle of muslim foundation which was once attacked by the King Sigurd 1 of Norway in 1109. It was never attacked again and surrendered when Lisbon fell to the Crusaders in 1147. It is a wonderful castle and an excellent example of Moorish defences.

Moorish Castle Walls
Moorish Castle
Ginny Resting On The Ramparts
View Of Pena Palace From Castle
Moorish Castle
     It was a mad dash back by bus to Sintra as we still had one more visit to the Park and Palace of Monserrate. We had time for a quick and well earned beer in Sintra before our bus. Monserrate is fascinating for its British connection. It was transformed in 1856 into a summer residence for the Cook family by the British Architect James Knowles, it is a unique testimony of the 19th century eclectism. Francis Cook was a textile millionaire , 1st Viscount Of Monserrate and owner of one of the greatest private art collections in Britain. He conceived the present Romantic Palace and gardens as a family summer residence . It was breathtaking and the gardens were stunning although the recently planted rose garden by Prince Charles and Camilla required some pruning! Shattered, we returned to Cascais and enjoyed a meal out again.
Guy With Ice Cold Beer.
Monserrate Palace
Monserrate Palace Gardens
Main Hallway Ceiling
The Corridors
Main Hallway Ceiling
Music Room Ceiling
Main Hall
Entrance Hall
Ginny Doing A Diana At Entrance
The Drive Up To Monserrate