May 02 Guincho -> Sintra -> Lisbon

Sadly, exploring Lisbon from Guincho would involve time consuming and expensive bus and train rides, so we decided to move closer to Lisbon. The Parque Campismo, in Lisbon’s Monsanto Forest Parc was a bit shabby compared to Orbitur Point. The grass was un-mown grass, wind-thrown trees lay beside the pitches, cobblestones sidewalks were broken, the roads potholed, and it cost $52 vs $27 a night. However, we would be saving the difference in bus and train fares, and more importantly we were much closer to old Lisbon. Having booked our pitch, we drove off to explore the town of Sintra and then the western most point in Europe. Sintra home to the rich and once famous, boasted lush green hills dotted with pastel coloured manors and palaces, steep narrow roads, lush public gardens, and intriguing public art. We were lucky to find parking about a kilometre from the town centre and stepped out of the van into wonderfully warm, shirt- sleeve weather under blue skies. The Rua Afredo Costa led us to the flamboyant, Neo-Manueline Town hall of Sintra. Reminiscent of a Disney castle, it turned out to be somewhat subdued compared to other architectural wonders in the area. From there we we followed the Volta do Duche along the edge of the Parque da Liberdade up hill towards the equally flamboyant National Palace. An eclectic array of public sculptures, some wonderful, some not so much, lined the route; artisans, artists, and photographers displayed their work along the low stone wall beside the sidewalk.  Chatting with a talented young photographer confirmed my impression that Portuguese sounded almost Slavic because of its zh and sh sounds. He told me that he had picked up the accent quite easily because of his Slavic background. Tourists and locals alike gathered in the restaurants and shops adjacent to the plaza in front of the National Palace; at the entrance to an alley, a living statue dressed as a Moorish warrior would suddenly come to life, shout a challenge, change his pose, and freeze back to immobility, much the the fright and delight of the children and adults gathered around him. Arts, crafts, souvenir, and curio shops lined a steep narrow alley below the Moorish castle and people literally rubbed shoulders in the crowded street. A cup of coffee beside the plaza accompanied by a pastel de nata (a small custard tart with hints of lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla) recharged our batteries and we strolled back to the van. Narrow lanes and roads led from Sintra, past an almost bizarre array of Neo-Gothic, Neo- Manueline, Neo-Islamic, and Neo-Rennaisance mansions inspired no doubt by the Pene National Palace which exuberantly combined all of these styles in one place. The homes became more mundane and perhaps more aesthetically pleasing as we approached the western most point in Europe at Cabo da Roca.  A red and white lighthouse, surrounded by a magnificent array of wildflowers, perched on the exposed headlands at lands end. Young men climbed a barrier to stand shivering in the cold gusting Atlantic wind at the edge of the 100 meter precipitous drop to the sea and rocks below so that their friends could immortalize their macho stupidity on their cell phones or hoping to impress their girlfriends. We, being more sensible, lined up with grey haired and blue rinsed seniors, mini-skirted young women, and parents with children to take our pictures at the official westernmost monument before heading back to camp.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map

May 02 Guincho -> Sintra -> Lisbon

Sadly, exploring Lisbon from Guincho would involve time consuming and expensive bus and train rides, so we decided to move closer to Lisbon. The Parque Campismo, in Lisbon’s Monsanto Forest Parc was a bit shabby compared to Orbitur Point. The grass was un- mown grass, wind-thrown trees lay beside the pitches, cobblestones sidewalks were broken, the roads potholed, and it cost $52 vs $27 a night. However, we would be saving the difference in bus and train fares, and more importantly we were much closer to old Lisbon. Having booked our pitch, we drove off to explore the town of Sintra and then the western most point in Europe. Sintra home to the rich and once famous, boasted lush green hills dotted with pastel coloured manors and palaces, steep narrow roads, lush public gardens, and intriguing public art. We were lucky to find parking about a kilometre from the town centre and stepped out of the van into wonderfully warm, shirt-sleeve weather under blue skies. The Rua Afredo Costa led us to the flamboyant, Neo- Manueline Town hall of Sintra. Reminiscent of a Disney castle, it turned out to be somewhat subdued compared to other architectural wonders in the area. From there we we followed the Volta do Duche along the edge of the Parque da Liberdade up hill towards the equally flamboyant National Palace. An eclectic array of public sculptures, some wonderful, some not so much, lined the route; artisans, artists, and photographers displayed their work along the low stone wall beside the sidewalk.  Chatting with a talented young photographer confirmed my impression that Portuguese sounded almost Slavic because of its zh and sh sounds. He told me that he had picked up the accent quite easily because of his Slavic background. Tourists and locals alike gathered in the restaurants and shops adjacent to the plaza in front of the National Palace; at the entrance to an alley, a living statue dressed as a Moorish warrior would suddenly come to life, shout a challenge, change his pose, and freeze back to immobility, much the the fright and delight of the children and adults gathered around him. Arts, crafts, souvenir, and curio shops lined a steep narrow alley below the Moorish castle and people literally rubbed shoulders in the crowded street. A cup of coffee beside the plaza accompanied by a pastel de nata (a small custard tart with hints of lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla) recharged our batteries and we strolled back to the van. Narrow lanes and roads led from Sintra, past an almost bizarre array of Neo-Gothic, Neo- Manueline, Neo-Islamic, and Neo-Rennaisance mansions inspired no doubt by the Pene National Palace which exuberantly combined all of these styles in one place. The homes became more mundane and perhaps more aesthetically pleasing as we approached the western most point in Europe at Cabo da Roca.  A red and white lighthouse, surrounded by a magnificent array of wildflowers, perched on the exposed headlands at lands end. Young men climbed a barrier to stand shivering in the cold gusting Atlantic wind at the edge of the 100 meter precipitous drop to the sea and rocks below so that their friends could immortalize their macho stupidity on their cell phones or hoping to impress their girlfriends. We, being more sensible, lined up with grey haired and blue rinsed seniors, mini-skirted young women, and parents with children to take our pictures at the official westernmost monument before heading back to camp.
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map