Born Again Boarder
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Spicewood, Texas (in the boonies)
Yesterday was a busy hard tourist day. Those can be as hard as driving 1000 km in old cars in wind and rain!!!!
Went to Sintra and visited the Pena Palace and Moorish Fort. There were other things to do there but that was actually enough. Left early 09:00 for 40 min drive up. Parked easily in parking just outisid of the historic village. So far so good.
The Ugly. Stood in line 40 min in a hot building to get tickets that took us 3 min to process. (It seems to take many people forever to get these things done. You'd think you went to a French political debate in a coffee shop.) Then figure out the bus ride up and stand in line 20 min for that. Then a 500' climb up through nice forest to the palace. Then stand in a slow upward moving line at the Pena Palace for 1 1/2 hours in the sun to get to the door entrance. Once inside it was personal bumper to bumper traffic for an hour walk though. The terraces were overcrowded. This is only April. And it was reasonably cool. Then a 20 min wait in line and a bus ride to the Moorish Fort. Then a 500' ascent to the castle. Coke and chips at snack bar for lunch. Stand in line for 15 min for the snack while folks dither on their 3 selections and exact change. It was pretty crowded here too. Walk down. Get a bus after waiting 20 min in line down the mountain. Miss our off-ramp (dazed and confused) and take the bus circuit around again, another 30 min. Walk down back to the car. Drive home, get 98 gas enroute, fight rush hour traffic, arr. 17:30. RT: 8 1/2 hours, 6 miles walking, 5 1/2 hours standing in line. Got home beat and still had to head out foraging to eat. Long day. Truly, being a committed tourist can be exhausting. I have no idea how those bus tour people do it from 6 am to 10 pm, day after day. Hats off to them.
The Good. The place was good if not amazing in a bizarre way. Still struggling with the architecture. We've seen Nouveau and Deco. We've seen Gaudi and Dali's variation on that at Figures. We've seen Gothic, Rococco and variations on Victorian. We've seem Moorish influence (Alhambra, Cordoba, Giralda, etc,) . And Neuschwanstein castle (Disney based his castle on that). But never seen anything like this. And this place melded that all together with Alice in Wonderland and/or a bad LSD trip and a palette of "It's a Small World" colors. It makes me really curious who commissioned this, and the architect. What were they smoking. Mind you I'm into bold design statements - I own an Alfa SZ Zagato which is outrageous car design to many/most. SO this place - like a Zagato - leaves a real impression. It is like no castle/palace I've ever seen. I'm glad I went, K is not. Wiki says it's "flamboyant romantic" - but I'd say Liberace on LSD in Las Vegas. It is fairy-tale like, the product of a youthful fun-loving mind with a strong dose of Moorish on the side.
You be the judge now.
Last edited by Anfanuts; 05-20-2019 at 02:21 PM.