Sintra Portugal – National Palace and Quaint Streets

When traveling with a tour company, one thing to be expected is early morning departure times as a matter of the daily routine. The goal is to see as many sights as possible and when appropriate, leave time for independent exploration.

We were up early for breakfast and departure on May 10, 2018 when we left Lisbon, Portugal for Sintra. The morning was cloudy with scattered showers as the group disembarked the bus and walked to the center of town. The streets are very narrow and large vehicles cannot stay in the central area.


A gloomy morning in Sintra

A gloomy morning in Sintra


The main attraction for our group was the very well preserved National Palace of Sintra which dates back a thousand years or more. It is mentioned in many historical documents and fell under Portuguese rule in 1147 when the city was conquered by King Alfonso Henriques.

Like many of the old and ancient buildings in Portugal and Spain, there have been alterations and changes throughout its history as new residents took occupancy much like contemporary renovations for those who purchase a legacy house. After all, doesn’t everyone want the latest and greatest?


The National Palace in Sintra

The National Palace in Sintra


The Sala dos Cisnes (Swan Room) generally used for grand receptions, banquets, etc. is one of the largest rooms in the palace. Of special interest is the painted ceiling which is composed of 27 octagonal sections each containing a white swan and from which the moniker of the room is derived. Looking closely at the paintings, tourists will note that each of the birds is different than the others and wears a gilded collar perhaps indicating the privilege of wealth.


Sala dos Cisnes - Swan Room

While walking through the rooms at the National Palace, we also noted the nearby beautiful and colorful mountainside …


beautiful and colorful mountainside


beautiful and colorful mountainside

and exterior views.


exterior views

Portugal has been known for its Hispanic-Moorish tile work and there were abundant displays of this tile artistry throughout the building. Some depicted courtly events and hunting scenes.


tile work

Here is a closeup of one panel.


tile panel closeup

We cannot judge this art form by standards we have today because technologies and techniques are much different. The difficulty of working with tiles to create a scene is that the tiles don’t always meet in the most appropriate and best-fitting manner. The tour guide pointed out how the seam-lines in the section below somewhat mar the face of the woman in the panel.


example of a misaligned tile picture

There were many kinds of beauty to be viewed in the National Palace. Some of them were more subtle while others were quite opulent. The Coats of Arms Room (Sala dos Brasões) is said to be located at the highest point in the palace. The center section of the ceiling pictured below shows eight panels each of which contains one of eight coats of arms of Portuguese royalty. The gilded artwork was quite impressive


gilded ceiling in the Coats of Arms Room - Sala dos Brasões

The Palatine Chapel (below) captures visitors eyes immediately upon entrance as the offset square fresco pattern of white doves with olive branches resting on a light, reddish-brown background draw the eyes to the chapel’s altar.


Palatine Chapel with doves

The architectural artwork in the palace had numerous unique elements. Manueline Hall was obviously a very formal room with a sizable chandelier. Archived pictures show that a large table is often placed in the middle of the carpeted floor area although absent during our visit. What impressed me almost as much was the amazing stonework rope design around the entranceway.


stonework arch of the Manueline Hall

Another example of the tile work in the palace is shown below. The corn (on top) is used to symblolize success and prosperity. It may be hard to visualize, but sections of the tiles are created in relief, i.e. three-dimensional.


three dimensional corn tile work

Seeing the various rooms and learning about their history was interesting, but I was also drawn to look out a number of windows to view the colorful and aged courtyards with their planters, staircases and interesting designs.


outside courtyard with planters

One of the last areas visited in the Palace was the large kitchen which was restored in 2016.


the Palace kitchen

You may have noticed the huge coat of arms above the main archway leading into the kitchen.


Kitchen Coat of Arms

The kitchen was tiled in a manner that might be considered more traditional according to today’s standards and was the main focus of the 2016 renovation as the older tiles were not adhering well to the underlying masonry. Everything was large in scale. Notice the size of the pots.


kitchen tiles and large pots

When cooking large amounts of food to serve hundreds of guests with the tools available at the time, there must have been a tremendous amount of heat in the kitchen and thus there are two massive chimneys 33 metres in height. The photograph below was taken looking upward through one of them.


large chimneys in the kitchen

By the time the tour of the National Palace ended, the weather had changed for the better as indicated in the picture of one of the kitchen chimneys from across the street.


large kitchen chimney from across the street

The National Palace was not the only point of interest in Sintra. The town itself beckons tourists to explore. Even the doorways exude an aura of Portuguese history.


old, rugged doorway

The beautiful plantings outside and colorful displays in windows of the shops were very inviting. The streets were paved with traditional cobblestones similar to those used in Lisbon proper.


narrow street in Sintra


colorful merchant display

Here is a typical stairway in the central district of Sintra.


streetside stairway

Along the side were large planters with specimen plants.


specimen planters along the stairway

Geraniums were a favorite and festooned a number of walls along the pedestrian byways.


geraniums on the wall

Wherever one travels in the world, there are street vendors and performers. This gentleman had a cart and as I watched him unload, it became apparent that he had a conquistador-type costume with him.


Don Quixote street performer

He began to apply a dark brown skin tone and adorn the accoutrements of a Don Quixote outfit perhaps with the idea that tourists would stop by to take pictures with him and pay a fee for the privilege. Unfortunately, we were called to leave before the transformation was complete.


Don Quixote street performer


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Read previous posts about our adventures traveling in Portugal and Spain:

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 1

Portugal – Alfama District, Lisbon Part 2

Portugal – Lisbon Streets & Garden

Lisbon Portugal – The Belem and Tejo River District

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com



STATUS QUOtes — Picture Quote — 20180922

Today’s Picture Quote

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See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2018 – JBRish.com


Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

We were anxious to travel to Lincoln City, OR as we had read so many intriguing reviews of the areas we chose for hiking. The Cascade Head Preserve seemed especially promising. It is a coastal headland with two trails one of which is much longer; 4.2 miles. The upper trail leads to the most scenic views and brings hikers to the top of the hills overlooking the ocean and nearby shore. This was really a no-brainer for us.

We opted for the shorter upper trail which was a relatively flat mile-long hike. We had been hiking for several days already and planned to continue hiking once we arrived at Crater Lake National Park so this seemed prudent.

It was difficult to find the correct forest road (Cascade Head Road 1861) which is more of a cut out along the highway than anything else. We persevered and finally wound up at the trailhead ready to go.

The first part of the hike looked like a pathway in Jurassic Park with the fungi and mosses covering the tree branches.


Jungle-like growth at the start of the trail
Jungle-like growth at the start of the trail

After hiking for a a bit more than twenty minutes, we reached the meadow viewpoints. The vista was stunning.


The meadow and ocean revealed themselves
The meadow and ocean revealed themselves

As we moved closer to the descending side of the hill, we could watch hikers arriving from the lower trail.


Hikers were arriving from the lower trail
Hikers were arriving from the lower trail

The contrast of the golden meadow, the green trees and shrubs against the blue ocean was a superb display of nature’s palette.


nature's colorful palette
A contrast of colors

The craggy rock outcroppings were also very dramatic.


Dramatic craggy outcroppings


Dramatic craggy outcroppings

I couldn’t resist taking a panorama from this expansive vantage point with such a remarkable view.


A panorama taken form the top of the meadow

Feeling self-satisfied, we decided to attempt the trek to Hart’s Cove and drove to that trailhead. We were somewhat daunted by the steepness of the trail heading down as we knew it would be uphill coming back. One rule of hiking when there is no loop is that for every down, there is an up!

We asked some ascending hikers what their thoughts were and after some encouragement, we began the descent. It was indeed downhill!

The first part of the hike takes trekkers through forests of hemlock and Sitka spruce. We then arrived at the open trail to the grassy meadow with anticipation of seeing the cove.


Finally, the path to the cove
Finally, the path to the cove

We were careful with our footing and made our way to an area where we could have lunch and enjoy the view of the cove.


A scenic backdrop
A scenic backdrop

Although we couldn’t see the sea lions, we could hear them barking in the distance.


A wonderful spot to enjoy lunch
A wonderful spot to enjoy lunch

We lingered for a time taking in the view and enjoying the best this area had to offer. Although we faced a strenuous (for us) return trip, the memories will remain long after our muscles have recovered.


A final view of the cove before we headed back
A final view of the cove before we headed back

For more information, you can refer to this web page: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



STATUS QUOtes — Picture Quote — 20170811

Today’s Picture Quote

“History is a vast early warning system.” – Norman Cousins

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See previous STATUS QUOtes HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Photgraphy – Importance of Capturing Family Life (Video)

I viewed this video on the heels of Father’s Day and it is a reminder that to many people, family is the most important component of life. And while the video helps to underscore the emotional reasons for this and an accompanying appreciation of familial ties, it also suggests the importance of photography in capturing the history and milestones of the family.

  • Do you take pictures of your family?
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  • Will those pictures be of importance to your children in the future?
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  • Will your grandchildren enjoy seeing their parents as children.
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Watch the video below and find these answers for yourself.

Here are the notes from the YouTube video page:

“Brent Gilmore has worn many hats during his lifetime, but none so fulfilling as that of dad. He’s not only juggled his share of strollers, dirty diapers, and 1 am wake-up calls, he’s also learned to balance his fatherly duties with those of the family historian—photographing his family’s tender, wonderful moments and keeping them safe for his children and future generations. See how Brent has mastered the busy roles of father and photographer, and why he trusts SmugMug to keep those precious memories safe and secure.”

 

JBRish.com originally published this post

See previous Photography STATUS QUOtes HERE

See Jeff’s other photographs on Instagram