605 – Sunday 22nd January 2017: Sintra and Sintrallated
An early start for us via the IC119 and hairpin bends to Sintra – magic fairyland palaces – and wall to wall sunshine although cool enough to be well wrapped up. AM saw us in the National Palace of Sintra. Rain over lunch saw us sheltering for soup and bad service in the Cafe Paris. Afternoon off to Monserrate. Sir Francis Cook took a leading part in the restoration of Monserrate Palace from 1858 and he became the Viscount of Montserrate. He was one of Britain’s 3 richest men and amassed a huge collection of art and classical sculptures – many of which we saw in the palace. See the black and white photo of his family.
There are large gardens, lake, springs, fountains and grottos. Lush greenery abounds with rare species of trees and plants. A photographers dream…
Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Sintra Palace: Holiday home (and as a plague refuge from Lisbon) of the Royals since C13 and fairly uninspiring from the outside except for the two kitchen chimneys, which were originally built in C15away from the Palace due to the not inconsiderable likelihood of them setting fire to the palace.
Inside had some amazing C15 and C16 tiles and wonderful ceilings. This one has 27 gold collared swans. One ceiling of magpies … the story goes that the queen found the King trying to kiss one of her Ladies in Waiting … he replied with “Por bem” meaning all for the good. The queen forgave the King, but the ladies in waiting gossiped about it, so he had the celling repainted … one chattering magpie for each lady. And each with the inscription “Por bem”!
The Coat of Arms Room with the 8 children and 74 leading C16 family coats of arms … including the Costa shield, from which Alison’s family are descended.
The Chapel ceiling … C14 oak and walnut and very rare.
Monserrate Palace and Park
The park and use had been sold to the Government in 1949 and largely left to fall into rack and ruin. They have undergone extensive renovation and opened to the public in 2010. The gardens especially had a wow factor.
The long corridor with the ground floor room off on either side. All the walls and ceiling had had the plasterwork repaired. Strong Gothic and Moorish influences.
Papa made his money from textiles and bought the palace in the 1850s as a summer holiday residence.
605 – Monday 23nd January 2017: Sintra and Scintillated – again…
For the main Palacio Nacional de Pena, I walked up (some very steep hills) with Alison to the Palace – Alison’s tennis legs will have improved their stamina immensely – Roger Federer watch out!
K stayed with Oscar – who appreciates his very own Jez Palace – especially when it’s dogs dinner time! More sumptuosity and grandiloquence – we’re into the big words today, readers….
For the Moorish Castle, K and I swapped roles and K and Alison walked up – yes – more steep hills – for spectaculouruberantial views again.
Back down to Sintra old town for coffee and fountain photographs. Another splendid day by all.
Palacio Nacional de Pena
The palace was built by the artist Ferdinand II from 1840 (Consort to Queen Maria II and grandfather to the assassinated King Carlos II … getting my head around Portuguese history now). He employed a German architect and you can see the Germanic influences in the towers. The interior is described as ‘kitsch’ and the rooms are pretty much left as they were when in use by Amelia for the short 2 years when used by Queen Amelia after her husband’s assassination and before she and her younger son fled to England.
King Carlos II
Castelo dos Mouros
Some steep climbs around the reimports but with great views.
We hunted out the two fountains described in our guide book … both still used for drinking water by locals. This one is the Fonte Mourisca – quite evidently.
But this one is called the Fonte da Sabuga and the gide book describes it as …’ the water spouts from a pair of breasts’ … funny looking boobies!
Oscar’s Diary (2)
Yes it’s me again – I wasn’t sure about continuing, but I got 3 positive feedbacks – Boo, Poppy and Kensey – so that’s OK – we may not get to double digits (I suppose I could count the owners…).
We are still in Portogoose Land (K and J tell me) – not a portly goose in sight though. Anyway, what’s grease for the goose is sauce for the gander (I think). I must watch my sneezing this time – so no more shoe problems – actually, s’not a problem at all. My ‘owners’ are still developing nicely – I am trying some games with them – they don’t really fancy the ‘shoelace’ game – they tie the laces and I untie them – what’s wrong with that, I ask? I like it when I pretend to be bored and they get me to lie on my back and one of them tickles my tummy – I of course make suitable noises so they continue, James tried this game with Katherine lying on her back – she just laughed and the whole van was shaking… I think they have their own games… that’s OK, too.
I can’t quite figure out some of K’s little sayings – like when she bangs her finger on something – she says “f***k, arse bum tit!”. I think it’s a happy phrase – “never mind, eh?” – now I’m catching her ditties. We were in Lisboa yesterday in the Alfama area – great for alternative types like wot we are… Met a lovely lady from Denver in Coloradoshire – her dog (a Labrador) is called Jules. Now we played nicely on the cafe outdoor terrace – until Jules picked up my lead in her teeth and tried to take me for a walk on the street! I had to let her know who’s in charge – a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do and all that.
They’ve regressed in one area – leaving me on my own in the van again – I thought I had cured that by rearranging the furniture. This time, I sort of realigned K’s coats – to keep myself busy. How was I to know the sticky hook on the wall wasn’t properly glued on? Cheap soupergoo. She insists on leaving her full coffee beaker in my path when I’m walking across the dining table to get to the window? I couldn’t lick it all up without getting my snout stuck in the doorwell – so some evidence remained… kitchen roll is great – even when it wraps itself around my neck.
I hope I’m not painting a glum picture here – they’re really nice people (for humans) – OK not many of their kind have complete Kninesight – but they come close. Meals arrive on time generally and there’s lots of play time – so chins up – and doze to the grindstone, old chum…(time for a nap, now).
Happy travels all…