Day 2. A visit to Sintra

 

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Walking to Sintra’s old town
Breakfast at the Hotel Jorge V was relaxed, with the usual assortment of hot and cold dishes on offer.  Our plan for today was to visit the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra a short 30 minute rail journey from here.   Sintra’s old town was a 20 minute walk from the station, the walk providing us with views of the Sierra de Sintra (mountains) in the distance.

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The main square, Sintra
Arriving at the National Palace we were spellbound with its gorgeous Moorish influences, it features two enormous, conical chimneys, a landmark photograph which seems to be the icon of the town.
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Sintra, Portugal

There was a signposted trail up to the Castello dos Mouros (Moorish Castle), so we decided to follow it.  The sign didn’t indicate the distance, which was at least an hour,  trekking along steep, often uneven paths.  It began raining, and mist soon hung low over us, resulting in a lack of views at the summit, it was at least, warm rain.
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Following the hillside trail in Sintra

Close to the castle lies the Pena Palace (Palacio de Pena) built in the 19th century.  We just admired the palace gardens and then retraced our steps down below.  Returning to civilisation in the town centre, gladly below the mist once again, we headed to a welcoming, brightly yellow painted cafe for coffee and a local pastry.

The train back to Lisbon was crowded with Benfica football supporters going to watch their team play Porto,  conveniently for them, our train stopped at the Benfica stadium station.  On leaving Rossio railway station, we noticed another funicular across the road, this was the Elevador de Gloria, so we took a ride to the Jardin de San Pedro.

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Sintra
This is a leafy, residential suburb high over the city centre.   There were photo viewpoints nearby, but visibility was very poor as it was now raining heavily and the mist was thickening.
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The cosy small restaurant where we had dinner

To escape the heavy rain we decided that some retail therapy might be the answer, so we took the metro to the Oriente Shopping Centre near to the airport.   It was a modern mall with the usual mix of stores,  we spent our time window shopping and grabbing a snack in a McCafe.
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Dinner in Chiado, Lisbon
After a rest back at our hotel, it was time for dinner.   There were very few options open in the evenings in the CBD near us, so we travelled by metro to Chiado and found a cosy small restaurant there.   We noticed other diners having steak and chips, so decided on the same, not very Portuguese, I know, so we ordered a bottle of the local red wine to make up for it!

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