After spending the day with my friend Claudia I headed out on the train to Belém on the west side of town. I wanted to get there later in the day in the hopes of avoiding most of the crowds. The first place I wanted to visit was the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, an absolutely gorgeous monastery built in the 16th century.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
When I arrived I noticed a large group of people but as I got to the ticket booth I was told that was the line up to get into the church of Santa Maria, not the monastery. Whew! It turned out that I was lucky enough to come at the right time. The monastery was pretty quiet.
The monastery is a monument to the Age of Discovery, a time when Lisbon became the mercantile centre of Europe due to its spice trade with India. King Manuel I built the monastery in 1502 on the site where Vasco da Gama and his crew spent the night in prayer before leaving to find a route to India and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for their success. The taxes from the spices he and others after him brought back, helped fund the build.
Inside the walls of the monastery, I was completely in awe of the intricate stone carvings and the large cloister that lay in the middle of this large building. The hallways around the cloister are extremely ornate on both the ground and second-floor levels. The stone carvings are of coils of rope, sea monsters, coral, and other sea motifs. It was absolutely jaw-dropping.
Exploring places late in the day can create some beautiful images. Golden hour is not just for landscapes, buildings can benefit from the subtle light. Don’t just look at the light but also look at the shadows that are created. In the image below the shadows created by the ornate columns cast a beautiful pattern onto the walls and door in the hallway.
Intricate shadow on door
As closing time came I had to drag myself out of the monastery. I could have spent hours here photographing the light as it left the sky but I had to move on. In the next post, I will show you a couple of more places I visited while in Belém.
A short hike (downhill – luckily) from Pena Palace and Park is the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle). Even though I walked downhill to the castle you’ll notice in the photo below that it definitely looks more uphill than down. And if you look at the final image from the previous post you will notice that technically the castle is downhill from Pena. They just don’t tell you that it sits on another peak so you have to walk down and then back up to get to its entrance. Still its a great view from the trail as you look up at those castle walls. (Hey, I’m storming a castle…lol)
I’m convinced that the grounds and walls of the Moorish Castle are a form of torture with all the ups and downs and then ups again. This is not a place for the weak. I’m also lucky that the temps today dipped from 30ºC + to only about 22ºC. I don’t think I would have made it. Or if I did I would have been done for the rest of the day. Below is the view from one side of the castle walls to the other. What did I tell you? Ups and downs. Like a damn roller coaster except you have to walk.
From One Wall to Another
A little history: the castle was built in the 8th and 9th centuries and was conquered in 1147 by Alfonso Henriques. It fell to ruin after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake but eventually it’s restoration, by King Ferdinand II, began in the 19th century and continued into the 20th century. Today It is classified as a National Monument, part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle walls are quite narrow. You could easily knock someone off. Which would not be so pleasant as you would fall a couple stories down onto hard rock. And that’s the good scenario because falling out of the castle would be a far steeper drop to your death.
When you exit from the castle you have a choice to either go back out to the main road to pick up the bus or if you take a path to the left you can exit the grounds and walk straight back (downhill) into the historical centre of Sintra. I took the path leading straight into town, away from the tourist buses. This also allowed me to see some of the back streets of the town.
At the bottom of the hill I found this doorway. I have a weird fascination with doors, particularly old ones. It’s like they want to tell a story. I wish I spoke door.
Continuing the walk into town (more downhill btw) I tried to figure out my way to Quinta da Regaleira. In the end I had to stop in at the information centre to ask where the heck I was and how to get to Quinta da Regaleira. (I ended up buying a map.) Seems I would need to walk a little further out of the historic centre and most likely uphill. *sigh
On the spur of the moment, I decided to head out to Picton today for a yarn show and I brought along my camera to visit some abandoned barracks.
The barracks aren’t completely abandoned as some local merchants have set up shop in the area. The goal is to revitalize the area while keeping the heritage of the place. I think its a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to wander the barracks and support local shops at the same time.
Of course, some of the buildings look beyond repair with roofs caving in and mother nature taking over as she usually does.
And what would I photograph if all the buildings looked all spruced up?
I was back on the Bruce Trail today, doing my usual thing…you know…hiking and taking photos, when I came across one of those signs. Not the regular signs that say Hiking Only or the Bruce Trail that way sign but the one that tells you exactly how far you’ve walked.
221 km to go
Wow! I have walked 664 kilometres. Well actually, I’ve almost walked double that much because there is this little thing about hiking the trail with only one car available to you…you have to walk back down the trail to pick up said car. So let’s just say I’ve walked somewhere around 900km of the trail (there are some areas where the trail loops and I can pick up a side trail so I don’t have to walk all the way back the way I came – kinda handy). That is essentially the length of the trail and yet I’m still 221 kilometres away from the end.
When I came across this sign I must admit I was pretty pumped…this sign was telling me that I had 25% more of the trail to hike. Now that said I have walked a few kilometres here and there along the north end so that 221 km is more in the neighbourhood of 190 km or so. Now that makes me pretty stoked to get more of the trail done. I am sooooooo close.
On another note – check out this awesome blue shed.
I swear I pass this shed every time I drive north on highway 10 and every time I say to myself, “Sue, you need to stop and get a photo of that shed”. And what do I do? I drive right past because I am either heading to the trail and am eager to get there or I’ve just hiked the trail and I’m too lazy to stop the car and get the photo. But not today!! Today I made myself get my ass out of the car and take some photos. I’m glad I did ’cause I love this photo. What do you think?
With fall colours pretty much done for this year it was time to think of somewhere interesting to go. With Roy Ramsay of Outdoor Photography Canada as my cohort for the day we headed north to an abandoned old house.
Difficult to Stand
There were some interesting colours happening in the house and as we explored I decided to focus on that aspect. With blues, pinks and beiges a common theme not he first floor I decided to play on that later in post processing.
All things Pink and Blue
It was fun exploring this old home and its grounds but please, if you decide to investigate ruins be careful as things are not always structurally sound and you can get hurt if you don’t take precautions. Be safe!