Portuguese Affairs!

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is a very glamorous city full of nice little cafes and restaurants.  In summer it gets really warm in Lisbon, and the local beaches of Cascais and Estoril are very busy. Set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, this dainty sun-kissed city lives in a latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions.

The number 28 tram has the longest route in Lisbon, performing a loop in the east of Baixa, Graça and Alfama before heading west to Estrela and Campo de Ourique. This first section is the favourite with most tourists, as the tram screeches through Alfama, passing the Se Cathedral and the Santa Luzia viewpoint. The westward section is equally enjoyable and scenic, by passing through the Estrela district and terminating at the magnificent Estrela Basilica.

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You  will have really nice views of the city when on the tram.

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Main square in Lisbon. You can see the artwork of the Portuguese stones on the pavement. The same as in Copacabana, Macau, and Rio de Janeiro City.

Belem Tower and Monastery of Sao Jeronimo.

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Palace Of QueluzIMG_1324

Queluz is a beautiful palace with very well kept gardens. Inside the palace there is lots of information about the Portuguese monarchy. I really like the story of Carlota Joaquina, the Princess of Brazil. There is a good Brazilian film about her story called Carlota Joaquina Princesa do Brasil.

 

Only 25km away from Lisbon, you will find the city of Sintra. It is a very popular day trip. I actually stayed in Sintra and did day trips to Lisbon, because I really liked it there and thought it was really pretty. I wanted to enjoy the hills of Sintra.

We hired some bikes and went for a cycle up the hills. On the way up I passed some incredible sites. The Pena Palace is very interesting and worth a visit; to me, it looked like a fairy tale palace. The Quinta da Regaleira is a popular tourist attraction but not as popular as the Pena Palace or Palácio Nacional and never feels overcrowded as most visitors are spread throughout the gardens.

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Pena Palace

Quinta da Regaleira

The Convento dos Capuchos is a humble Franciscan monastery that balances the excess and opulence of Sintra, and is therefore one of the most atmospheric buildings of the region. Capuchos was constructed to have minimal impact on the natural surroundings and the monastery buildings are blended with the ancient forest and massive granite boulders. The only material used for decoration was cork and this was used to insulate the ceilings of the small cells were the monks would sleep.

Convento dos Capuchos

The Palacio de Monserrate is a 19th century mansion that contains the finest example of Islamic inspired architecture in Sintra. The palace prides itself on its beautiful small details – from the intricate geometrical patterns on the lattices, to the fine carved stone detail on the exterior and the stunning Indian inspired stone inlaying. The palace’s fine detail is to such perfection that it could only be funded by England’s richest man, Sir Francis Cook, a merchant who amassed a fortune exporting textiles and wool.

The Monserrate Palace

The Castelo dos Mouros was constructed by the Moors in the 9th century as a fortified observatory, with views over the sea and region. After the invasion of central Portugal by the Christian Crusaders in the 12th century the importance of this viewpoint waned and the castle fell into disrepair. The castle deteriorated further after fire (from lightning) and earthquakes during the 17th and 18th centuries. The all but forgotten castle was restored during the 19th century so as to be a major feature in the grounds of the Pena Palace.

Castelo dos Mouros

The Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and is a headland of massive cliffs and powerful seas.

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It was a long day cycling. I cycled all the way from Sintra to Cascais, but I enjoyed every single moment.

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