The Tower and the MAAT

After spending a couple of hours at the monastery (see the previous post) I had to move on as they were closing for the day. My next stop was to Belém Tower to catch the sunset. On my way over I noticed this little lighthouse that perfectly aligned with the sun. 

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Not much further from the lighthouse was the Tower (you can see it in the distance in the photo above). A couple of nights before they had quite the celebration here and the scaffolding was still up so I didn’t have a lot of great angles to play with as I took my photos of Belém Tower.

Belém Tower

Belém Tower

I was lucky enough to catch the sun off the side tower as it was setting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a vantage point that worked for what I had in my mind. After checking out all the angles I decided to move on and make my way over to the MAAT. The MAAT is the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology located on the other side of Belém close to the train station. Since the sun was going down I wanted to get some fun night shots of the museum and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge before heading back to the apartment.

Ponte 25 de Abril

Ponte 25 de Abril

As I walked the long road toward the MAAT I was greeted by this modern art piece lit up on dock just in front of the bridge. I”m not sure who the creator is or why it’s there but it’s definitely a conversation piece for those walking along the river.

Maat and Ponte 25 Abril

Maat and Ponte 25 Abril

I waited patiently to get the photo above as there were quite a number of the people on the steps in front of me when I arrived. Surprisingly they all left quickly once the sun disappeared. I think they missed the most beautiful part of the day but it was a bonus for me. The MAAT is a uniquely shaped building, as you can see from the photo above, and what I loved most was the fact that you could walk a ramp up its roof to get some great views.

MAAT Roof and View

MAAT Roof and View

I had a great evening out here in Belém. I’m also a little sad as there is only one day left before I leave this beautiful city behind for home. But there are a couple more places I have to visit in central Lisbon not too far away from the apartment before that happens.

The Summer Homes of Sintra: Part 3

My final destination in Sintra was Quinta da Regaliera, a very interesting estate just outside the historic center of Sintra. As you walk uphill (yup that’s right, uphill – again) to the entrance you pass the grand 5-story gothic palace, giving a glimpse of what might lie in the grounds themselves.

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monterio, an eccentric millionaire, was the brainchild behind this particular estate. The grounds are riddled with secret passage and tunnels along with occult symbols and religious references. 

I started slow with this water fountain. The strange fish acts as the spout for the water to flow into the two-tiered bowls.

Water Fountain

Water Fountain

The grounds themselves are a challenge to navigate as they twist and turn and head off into unexpected directions or dead ends. Needless to say, I definitely walked the same paths a couple of times if not more.

The one place I was looking most forward to was the Initiatic Well. My friend, Jason told me all about it, which is why I choose Quinta da Regaleira as my final destination of the day. The well did not disappoint. Entering from the top I walked down the ten stories to the bottom where it opens up to the tunnels. There is a second smaller well on the property. The wells were used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. The tunnels connect the wells to one another, in addition to various caves and other monuments located around the park.

Initiatic Well

Initiatic Well

Part of the cave system on the property is the Laybrinthic Grotto. For these tunnels, you will need a light source in order to get around because once you leave the cave opening there are no lights to guide you as there are in the tunnels near the Initiatic Well.

Labyrinthic Grotto

Labyrinthic Grotto

There is so much here in Quinta da Regaliera to see that you should plan to spend a few hours here if you can. I spent most of my time here at this estate more than the other two (Pena Palace and Moorish Castle) and I wish I had more time and energy. If I get a chance to get back I will be coming here first.

The Summer Home of Sintra: Moorish Castle

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)

Moorish Castle

Moorish Castle

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

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. 

Stone Walls

Stone Walls

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.

HIdden Door

HIdden Door

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 

Old Woman Bay

Our second day in Wawa before heading out to Lake Superior Provincial Park we stopped at the iconic goose statute located on the edge of town. This goose is huge! I’m standing at its base as it looms over me.

Wawa Goose

Wawa Goose

Our first stop in the park was back to Old Woman’s Bay. Our hope was to see some substantial waves that the area boasts about this time of year. We were a little unlucky on that front as the waves coming in were on the smaller side but look at that beautiful light.

Old Woman Bay

Old Woman Bay

We did see some remnants of trees that looked like they’d been tossed about by those elusive large waves.

We had a couple stops planned today and one that we hiked up to was Sand Falls. While on our hike it started big fluffy snowflakes fell from the sky.

Above Lower Sand Falls

Above Lower Sand Falls

We wanted to try to get a photograph of the sunset as the skies decided to clear a little later in the day. We raced down to Sandy Beach just as the sun was hitting the edge of the horizon. I quickly shot this photo as I got out of the car.

Sunset at Sandy Beach

Sunset at Sandy Beach

Overall a great day in the park exploring. With one more day left to explore we are still hoping to find some of those waves.

A Wash Out in Stanley Park?

My first full day in British Columbia began as a very wet adventure but the weather eventually turned as I made my way out of Stanley Park and off on the ferry to Nanaimo. Here is a video I put together of my day along with some of my favourite photos from the day.