As every country has their beautiful places, so goes Portugal. Yesterday I spent a long day touring Sintra and Cascais and some of their treasures. Sintra was unknown to me but has been a coveted piece of real estate for millennia. In the high hills overlooking the Atlantic, it has the advantages of the Lisbon climate with the shade of huge trees and the cooling ocean breezes.

Sintra has been continuously occupied by every civilization known to the Iberian peninsula. The earliest remains found are Celtic but Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, and Spanish conquerors have occupied the territory long before the Portuguese and each of them seems to have left their mark.

We started our day with a visit to the Palácio da Pena. It is the most well preserved and most recently occupied of the properties in the region. Originally a monastery, it was taken over by a German king Frederick who married the Portuguese Queen. It is reminiscent of the castle in Germany of the mad king Ludwig. From it’s ramparts one can look down at the remains of the moorish castle and the city below as well as the ocean in the distance. I will add more about the trip to Sintra later.


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