Tag Archives: Sintra

Impressions of Portugal, In Sintra

National Palace of Sintra and surrounding town from Castelo dos Mouros

National Palace of Sintra and surrounding town from Castelo dos Mouros

Lo! Cintra’s glorious Eden intervenes
In variegated maze of mount and glen.
Ah, me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen,
To follow half on which the eye dilates
Through views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates,
Who to the awe-struck world unlocked Elysium’s gates?
—Lord Byron
(from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,Canto I, Stanza 18)

João Cristino da Silva, Cinco artistas em Sintra (1855)

João Cristino da Silva, Cinco artistas em Sintra (1855)

Ah, those Romantics! Surely no one does awe-struck better. Time has moved on since Romantics of all stripes waxed lyrically about Sintra, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site it seemed we should not miss. Cloudy skies, a chilly wind, and no clue how far (and how far up) we’d have to go induced us to buy tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus tour, something we usually go to lengths to avoid. The efficient tour bus operation made short work, for the most part, of longish Easter break lines of tourists, and off we went, uphill all the way. Had Lord Byron seen Sintra as we did, I suspect his waxing might have waned, but we were grateful to preserve our “museum legs” for the sights themselves. Continue reading