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Day Trip to Sintra
Sintra is a delightful little town and a trendy tourist destination in the Greater Lisbon area, partly stretching into the forest.
It's famous for its palaces, castles and beautiful historic houses.
Sintra was on top of my list of destinations after Lisbon and Porto, but my schedule only permitted me a day trip.
I embarked a train at Lisbon's Rossio station, traveled roughly 40 minutes until we reached Sintra.
I aimed at visiting the Pena Palace, the Moorish Castle, the National Palace.
The town itself was very beautiful, but much larger than I have previously anticipated. I waited for ages for my first bus, which took me all the way up to the Pena Palace.
First it was the Pena Palace, then I hiked in the woods alone, trying to find my way to the Moorish Castle. These forests didn't feel that dangerous.
Finally, my time only allowed two strolls in the town, a brunch and visits to the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.
With 33,000 inhabitants, Sintra is rather small, but when you're on foot, trying to get your way around - it can be complicated. I asked about 6-7 people to find my way back to the train station and 3 of them misdirected me.
The most memorable misdirection was by a sneaky "priest"-like dress-wearing spectacled guy who insisted on me giving a few euros to sick/orphan children.
It just didn't feel right, I felt like the guy was a crook (I don't think real priests beg for money on the streets "for the orphan children") and, because I didn't give him a single coin, he misdirected me...
"It's that way" - no, it wasn't!
Never ask directions from a street crook!
Here are my experiences and photos of Sintra...
Arrived in by train and waited more than an hour for my first bus to arrive. The bus trips were very expensive, the distances are long...
The town is very disproportionate with long roads and distant neighbourhoods. It's a headache to walk around without a bus.
It's a lovely little town with many nice buildings and a large number of palaces.
My time only allowed me some strolls and I was able to see the beautiful National Palace from outside.
Locals simply call it "Pena Palace", probably to avoid confusion with the National Palace.
It's an alluring colourful modern palace built on top of a mountain, outside of Sintra.
King consort Ferdinand II of Portugal built the Pena Palace on top of the ruins of an old monastery in 1838.
Constructed sometime in the 8-9th century by the Muslim Moors, it's a large fortification guarding the area from a mountain top located in the forest.
After the fall of Lisbon, it was conquered by the Christian Portuguese.
Harko's Japanese-Italian Restaurant appeared right in front of me, as I was descending by foot all the way from the Moorish Castle, trying to find the way to the train station.
That's when I came across this place and because my belly was empty, I couldn't stand not taking a bite on a bunch of gyozas. Yes, they had my favourites there in Sintra!
The unique town of Sintra also gave me the opportunity to spot a few interesting road vehicles.
A few humble photos in this article...
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