I'm kind of bitter about this whole day - if that's not an enticing introduction, I don't know what is :)
On Monday, since virtually everything is closed in Lisbon, we took Rick Steves' advice and headed out for a day trip to Sintra (SEEN-trah). I was so super duper excited to see the Pena Palace up close and in person (not my photo).
To get there... first we took the metro a couple of stops to Rossio.
Then we walked to the Rossio train station - the circa-1900 facade of Rossio Station is Neo-Manueline.
A train leaves for Sintra every 20 minutes. The innards remind me of King's Cross in London.
We hopped on the train and found a spot to sit.
What do you do when there's nothing to do? Take silly selfies of course!
The train ride was 40 minutes and we got a small glimpse of the Moorish Castle ruins up and above the train when we got off.
On the short walk from the train to the bus I saw lots of enticing tilework.
Theeeeen we hopped on a bus for about a half hour that took us nearly to the top.
The drive on the bus was CRAZY scary. Roads that narrow just should not be driven on. AND, by the time we got off, it was pouring rain, super foggy, cold, damp, and pretty much miserable. We couldn't see a thing as far as views or even the castle in all its glory.
But let's back up. Sintra - just 15 miles northwest of Lisbon, was the summer escape of Portugal's kings. Those with money and a desire to be close to royalty built their palaces amid luxuriant gardens in the same neighborhood. Lord Byron called this bundle of royal fancies and aristocratic dreams a "glorious Eden." For centuries Portugal's aristocracy considered Sintra the perfect place to escape from Lisbon, and now tourists do too. It's a mix of natural and man-made beauty: fantasy castles set amid exotic tropical plants, lush green valleys, and craggy hilltops with hazy views of the Atlantic and Lisbon (though, we wouldn't know, we could barely see three feet in front of us because of the fog and rain.... grrrrr). Here are some pictures from the internet of what we were SUPPOSED to see.
I want to visit the National Palace (not my pic).
And I want to see the views from the top of the Pena Palace (not my pic).
I do hope we get to go back some day because I don't feel like we did Sintra justice at all! Crossing my fingers and toes :)