Day 609 of Traveling the World, Sintra, Portugal. Part 2. October 13, 2019.

More climbing! The Castelo dos Mouros, Castle of the Moors, being a defensive castle overlooking Sintra, and being able to observe the Atlantic Ocean, naturally was built on a mountain, on the highest peak in the area. It takes about 15-20 minutes of driving up a steep winding road filled with switchbacks to get here. After you park, you hike uphill to the ticket office. After you pay, you hike uphill to the castle. After you enter the castle grounds, you hike up a billion steps to see what’s at the top, and the views are breathtaking. It is hard to believe it was built in the 10th century, as it is still standing and still looking magnificent. The giant stones that helped in its construction were “broken” way back then by finding a natural fissure in the rock, inserting wooden planks and wetting them, then waiting for the wood to expand, thus splitting the boulders. All the way up to all of the turrets, the walkway is cobblestone. We wonder who fashioned all those tiny pieces of rock to make paths that we can still walk on today! You can also see, toward the end of the castle photos, a photo of the town taken from the castle, as well as a photo of the castle way up on the hill, taken from the town. Almost adjacent to this castle is Pena Palace, which we also wanted to visit. As we drove up, there were many buses and just throngs of people, as well as several groups of school children. We kept driving, and will visit there next time!

After the castle photos is an image of one of the many statues around the town. It is titled “The Imaginary Man,” but it must have lost its plaque…as you can see in the photo that follows it, somebody wrote out the name and description on pieces of ripped masking tape. We have never seen that on artwork before. After that are photos around the city, including one of the prettiest floral apartment buildings ever! There are also some tiled homes, and the castle you see with the two tall white chimneys in several photos is the National Palace of Sintra. The chimneys have become a symbol of the city. There are also some retail window models. Since they aren’t wearing anything, we don’t know if the clothing was sold off of their backs or if the owner was too busy with the sale to dress them!

The last two photos are from the Doubletree Hotel in Lisbon. The first of the two is remarkable in that breakfast is from 7-10:30, and around 8:30 am, a singer/guitarist started to serenade us! At breakfast! In a hotel! The last picture…you may ask, why did you include a prison? It is the hallway of our hotel. Yep, believe it or not. The hotel used to be an old ironworks factory, so they decided to go for a black iron look. As we rode in the elevator with another couple this morning, the woman remarked, “time to return to our cells.” We laughed, as that was exactly what we thought it looked like. Most. Depressing. Hotel. Corridor. Ever.