Sometimes a sightseeing trip falls way below our expectations. We’re glad to say that it rarely happens, but our much-anticipated trip to Sintra took a turn for the worse soon after it started.
We’ll tell the tale of our bad-to-great day in reverse – starting with the best of our day at Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Of course, this was an ongoing building project, with a military fort added in the 10th Century. It was all over for the Moors when the Christians defeated them in 1147. With the Moors gone, local people occupied the Castle and some further construction took place. Eventually the Christians moved into the town of Sintra and a Jewish community moved into the castle complex. King Manuel I, who reigned from 1495-1521, expelled the Jewish residents – and the castle was abandoned. After centuries of little use, the 1755 earthquake devastated the castle.
We managed to visit three of the many historical sites at Sintra in a very full day. The Castle of the Moors was our last visit – and our favorite.
Before our arrival at the Castle of the Moors, we spent many hours walking through the extensive park at the Palace of Pena in the early afternoon. After a difficult morning of crowds, delays, and heat, we thought walking through the wooded park would be a good change. We chose our route – a series of paths strung across the extensive park starting at the palace and leading to a rabbit warren. We’d read about rabbit warrens, but had never actually seen one. This would be a first.
We continued on to find the rabbit warren. We walked by ponds, through forest, by pens holding goats. When we arrived, we were puzzled. We studied the map, but the rabbit warren was nowhere to be seen. Was it somewhere else or had it been removed? Disappointed, we made our way back. We think that sometimes touring is like the rabbit warren: the planned-for destination, the great build up, and then, nothing. Of course, we consoled ourselves that our disappointment was only temporary as our time at the Castle of Moors had been a memorable visit.
The retelling of the best of our day at Sintra has now been told and the next post will fill you on the worst. We’re still asking ourselves: “How could it all have gone so wrong?”
…to be continued…