We had about a week in Portugal, so we figured we’d have plenty of time to explore a bit of the area outside the big city as well. We’d both heard great things about the Pena Palace in Sintra and it was soon decided that this was a ‘must visit’ for the both of us. Initially, we thought about taking public transportation to Sintra and the palace, but then we found a flyer with heaps of day tours to choose from. Excellent! We chose a full day trip that would not only take us to Sintra and the palace, but to Cascais and a few other places as well. While I love figuring out how to get from A to B, sometimes it’s nice to just kick back and enjoy the ride. And that’s exactly what we did!
We were picked up from our hotel by our tour guide early in the morning. He was friendly, as were the other passengers: tourists from Chile, Switzerland and Italy. Our tour guide quite easily switched between languages. When I asked him how many languages he spoke, he said ‘only five’. Woah. Besides Portuguese and English, he also spoke Spanish, Italian and French. Very impressive! But I’ve learnt that many Portuguese people speak multiple languages. I grew up learning multiple languages as well (besides Dutch we had to learn English, French and German), but I’m terribly out of practice due to simply not keeping up these skills in the last 20-odd years. The only foreign language I comfortably speak, is English.
On the day trip, we headed to the Pena Palace first. As a big tourist attraction in the area, it was bound to get super busy so it was best to get there early. After we bought our tickets, we headed up the hill. It didn’t take long for the building to appear between the trees. Big bright yellow and orange buildings appeared through the foliage. Quite a sight, I have to admit.
In the characteristic Manueline style, the palace is a mishmash of architectural styles. I’ve never seen something like it before. All those different tiles and colours made it a very busy yet fascinating place to explore. What a magical place this was!