The Summer Homes of Sintra: Pena Palace

A short train ride away from Lisbon is the city of Sintra. Located on the west side of Portugal, Sintra was once a summer retreat for the kings of Portugal. There is a lot to see and do here and certainly not enough time in the day to do them all. I limited myself to three locations hoping I could tackle them all in the time I had.

When the train pulled into the station I wandered out into the streets to find the local bus that would take me up the hill to Pena Palace. By starting at the top I could walk down to the Moorish castle and then into the heart of Sintra to Quinta da Regaliera. It was best not to look out the windows as these experienced drivers whipped up the hill along narrow, twisty streets.

National Palace of Pena

National Palace of Pena

Arriving safely (thank goodness) at Pena the photos I had seen did not do it justice. The unique architecture and colours of Pena Palace and Park are an example of Portuguese Romanitcism. Built in the 19th century it is one of the more popular spots here in Sintra and one can see why. Reds, yellow and blues merge together to create a one-of -a-kind castle. And, of course, the views from this far up ain’t too shabby either.

Looking out over Pena

Looking out over Pena

The crowds here were crazy but with a little patience I was able to get a few shots during some of the lulls. From the castle I walked down into the palace grounds. Pena Park, as its known, is very large and unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore much, but I did get some time to see a small portion of it.

Fountain of the Small Birds

Fountain of the Small Birds

This moorish building is called the Fountain of the Small Birds. Inside its structure is just that, a fountain. As for the small birds I did not see any but I”m sure they visit here during the quiet times. Heading out of the grounds I walked downhill to the Morrish castle. From its walls one can see Pena Palace in the distance. And it is quite a sight.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace From the Morrish Castle

In my next post I’ll take you through my walk at the Morrish castle.

Sunset at the Castle

Today I spent some time with my friends and got a little shopping done (way too much actually but hey, I’m on vacation). It wasn’t until early evening that I decided to hike back up the mountain to Castelo Sao Jorge to catch the sunset and take some night shots of the city. I got a little lost on the way – I didn’t know exactly where the entrance was and ended up on the opposite side of where I should have gone. Luckily for me I arrived just in time for the sunset.

Lisbon Sunset

Lisbon Sunset

The photo above was taken from the viewing area just inside the castle grounds. While there was still light in the sky I decided to explore more of the castle itself. Inside the castle the glow from the sunset reflected off the walls and made everything pink.

A Small Doorway

A Small Doorway

Climbing up to walk on the castle walls I found some beautiful archways to photograph. 

Arch with a View

Arch with a View

As night fully descended and the castle grounds were about to close I was able to get one last shot of Lisbon.

Beyond the Castle Wall

Beyond the Castle Wall

A short adventure today but tomorrow I’ll be getting on a train and heading outside of Lisbon to explore Sintra, the summer playground for the previous kings of Portugal.

Lisbon Under The Stars

Built on the slope overlooking Baixa stands the ruins of Igreja do Carmo, whose roof gave way during the earthquake of 1755 which left only its walls and the chancel standing. This beautiful structure is now a museum with many artifacts located inside the chancel. Since 2018 they have been hosting a special event called Lisbon Under the Stars. And tonight my friends and I are in attendance to enjoy this  event.

Washed Away

Washed Away

Lisbon Under the Stars is  “an immersive journey into the history of Lisbon told with visual effects, music and actors”. The ruins are transformed with images projected 360º onto the walls of the Carmo telling the story of Lisbon from over 600 years ago leading up to modern day.

Greenery of the Carmo Convent

Greenery of the Carmo

Lisbon’s history is told in both Portuguese and English, alternating between the two as the scenes around change over and over again as the story enfolds. I have never seen anything like it before. 

Stars inside the Carmo

Stars inside the Carmo

Learning about Lisbon’s history in the way was not only entertaining but extremely informative. It’s an experience I would recommend to anyone who gets a chance to be there when they host this event.

Lisbon Under the Stars

Lisbon Under the Stars

An Adventure in Portugal

OMG! Guys!! I am in Portugal. It was a mid summer suggestion from friends of mine to join them in their rental in Lisbon and now here I am! And all I can say is WOW. First its damn hot and second I AM IN LOVE. It’s so beautiful here and I’ve only explored a small section of the city.

Vine Wall In Alfama

Vine Wall In Alfama

During my first afternoon I wandered over to Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. This section of Lisbon that was first settled by Romans and flourished under Moorish times. The narrow streets take you back through time as you walk along its meandering path. Here you will also find Castello de Såo Jorge sitting on the crown of the hill. I didn’t explore this today but I will definitely be paying a visit soon.

Number 32

Number 32

Old European cities are my favourite places to wander. There are so many things to photograph and Number 32 is a great example of the kinds of things I love to photograph. The old ornate wooden doors with their paint peeling tell a story of better days.

Lisbon Streetcar

Lisbon Streetcar

Wandering back into the bustle of the neighbourhood of Baixa and Avenida I started noticing these yellow trams. Tram number 28 is the traditional way to see Lisbon’s sights. The tram winds its way around the city, up its steep hills and through the narrow streets to give tourists an easy way to see the sights without all the leg work. On hot days like today I think I would rather walk the streets than be huddled together in this small tram.

A Ghost Town

We were still four hours from home but we wanted to stop at Depot Harbour before we pulled into our homes and got back to reality. There apparently is a ghost town located on the island.

Rose Point

Nuthatch

While driving to our destination we stopped just off the road to get a photo of the small harbours. I loved how calm it looked with its overcast skies.

After some driving around at Depot Harbour we finally found what we were looking for – an old ghost town.

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Some history on the site: Back in 1890 John Booth created the town of Depot Harbour to move his lumber to the area now known as Algonquin Park via a railway that was taken over by CNR in 1918. In 1993 the railway was damaged by a spring ice floe and was never repaired, bringing less and less ships to Depot Harbour. In 1945, the shops stopped arriving and by 1964 the town was abandoned. You can still see remnants of the old buildings (as shown in the photo above). Depot Harbour is the largest Ontario town to become a ghost town.

Permission to view the site must be obtained from the Wasauksing First Nations Band Office.