8/27 – if you look way up when standing on the main street of Sintra, you can see the battlements of a castle on top of the mountain in the distance. Today we took a bus 3 miles up the mountain, to walk among the ruins of the 8th century Moorish Castle, Castelo dos Mouros. Time and earthquakes have brought down most of the structure, but the turrets and walls that remain provide a wonderful view of the countryside below.
One of the things you can see from the castle is the visually striking Pena National Palace. Originally a monastery from the Middle Ages, it was mostly destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, then restored in the early 1800s by young King Ferdinand. It has tiled walls, trompe l’oeil, minarets, Moorish arches, and whatever else struck the royal family’s fancy.
The tour displayed lots of rich-people stuff. My favorite was the kitchen:
We walked through the natural gardens that surround the palace, and climbed to the mountain summit to see the High Cross:
From the Cross, we looked down on the palace below:
Enough climbing for one day – time for a nap!