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Date: 21 Sep 2010 16:24:22
Title: Sintra - Pena Palace

We did a proper hike today! and took a packed lunch - how's that for organisation - we decided against hanging maps around our necks though.   We went up to Sintra for a second visit - this time to the Pena Palace and Park - this is one of the royal palaces that was in use in late 19th and early 20th century - it has a spectacular setting right at the top of rocky hilltop way above the town of Sintra and surrounded by semi cultivated woodland that is covered with pathways.  
 
We thought we need to get fitter so left the tour buses to the saga parties and decided to walk from Sintra centre up to the palace - luckily in the hills it is always cooler but it was still a long way up.. . . ..
 
The wooded park is very nice and very quiet - most of the tourists seem to just go straight to the palace and ignore the grounds, but that was good for us - we walked up to the highest point which is just a bit higher than the palace for our lunch - it was great up there, complete silence - no traffic noise or anything - but it was very high up with quite steep drops.
 
 a couple of pictures of the park - the king Fernando who build it like collecting trees from all over the world - these were the best in our opinion (not that we are an authority on trees)
 
 
The palace is a pretty interesting, if strange building - looks like something from the prisoner - painted blue, red and yellow with turrets and spires - it doesn't look like a real building at all.  It is great walking around the walls though - it basically sits on sheer rock sides so is a very long way down all around.  The rooms inside were all quite small but very nice and strangely laid out around balconies on the inside - no photo's allowed inside though.  We took this picture from our lunch spot - even higher than the palace itself
 
 
Just don't look over the edge. . . . ..
Raaaaaaaaah!!!!!  - what a beautiful gargoyle above the door to welcome or terrify your guests?
 
It took all day to walk all around the parks and palace then back down again to Sintra to collapse onto the bus - our legs are worn out today.
 
Also - a success yesterday, after our trip out to Lisbon and late night watching the festivities in Cascais the other day we decided to put the float on our set of boat keys to the test by errmmmm dropping our keys in the sea as we returned late at night to the boat, the key float failed and the keys dissappeared in about a second.  We did mark them on our GPS as 'keys overboard' and Adam did a successful dive yesterday to retrieve lost keys - I didn't think he would find them but it only took him 10 minutes, we shall put a larger float on our keys next time.  And My stitches are out! - head still healing, not there yet but at least half way there.

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