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 It is mentioned in many historical documents and fell under Portuguese rule in 1147 when the city was conquered by King Alfonso Henriques.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



Pickleball: Video- Dink Destroyer

Jordan Briones of Prime Time Pickleball demonstrates what he considers a major mistake many people make in their dinking technique. After describing and explaining the issue, he offers tips and a practice exercise to help overcome a habit that may destroy the best approach to successful dinking.

When I watch novices/beginners play pickleball, I see this mistake many times. Another mistake that beginners often make is taking a step backward at the NVZ hoping to “catch a better bounce” of the ball. Learn to take it in the air if you can.

1 – It avoids the ball taking a funny bounce

2 – It keeps you in position

3 – It takes time away from your opponent.

More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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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



Pickleball Video: All the Non-Volley Zone Rules and No No’s

VIDEO: Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner explain and clarify Non-Volley Zone faults.

This is the paragraph that accompanied the Pickleball 411 video above.

“Ever heard someone disagree about a non-volley zone foot fault? Look no further! This fun video is the most complete pickleball non-volley zone rule video ever! Packed full of information, it is a one-stop shop for you to have all your questions answered and learn more about the multi-faceted non-volley zone rule in pickleball. Hear from pickleball champions Alex Hamner and Jennifer Lucore alongside our host Rusty Howes, as they break down the non-volley zone rule in its entirety as well as show some helpful real-life examples of actual NVZ faults. Reviewed by the USAPA, this video is a necessity in understanding this fun game of pickleball!”

More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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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



Pickleball Video: Oh, Oh…Move Back!

When I am playing at one of the Community Centers and I watch the games, I notice that most of the time, when a player is at the ​NVZ (net), they tend to stay there in almost every situation.

There is one school of thought that actually recommends this strategy, but there are times when it might be better to back up to give yourself more time to return a ball coming at you quickly.

Mark Renneson of Third Shot Sports has video to explain why…

Pickleball Strategy: 3/4 Court Defence

If you can’t get enough of pickleball and you like to listen to podcasts (web broadcast like radio), Mark also has ​a ​Pickleball Problem show. You can download them into an app or listen to them directly from the web page

Pickleball Problems

There are some very good hints and you get to hear what ​pickleball ​problems others are having.

More Pickleball Videos

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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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



Pickleball: Kitchen Basics & Myths

As a Pickleball Ambassador for the N. Phoenix area and community center instructor, I am often surprised by the following questions:

  • 1. Can you go into the Non Volley Zone (NVZ) or Kitchen before the ball bounces in it?
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  • 2. How long can you stay in the NVZ?
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  • 3. Can both players on a team be in the NVZ at the same time?
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This leads me to wondering: How many people know the correct answers? If you have any doubts about the answers to the questions posed above, the video below might be of interest to you!


Three Myths About Being in the Kitchen | Pickleball 411

More Pickleball Videos

To See additional Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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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 – JBRish.com



Pickleball – You Make the Call – 20160121 – Answer

The Question:

A pickleball player is standing at the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) and the front of his shoes curl up in such a fashion that they are actually beyond the NVZ line, but because of the curl, they are not touching the line.

A ball is hit to that player and he makes a return volley back to the opposing team. If an imaginary line was extended downward from the tip of his shoe to NVZ line his foot would have been over that line; is this a fault?

 

The Answer according to USAPA Rules Chairperson:

“The NVZ, including the NVZ line, is a two dimensional part of the court. So, the tip of the shoe can overlap the line, but if it is not touching the line at the time the player is volleying the ball it is not a fault. The shoe must contact the line in the process of volleying the ball for it to be a fault.” [emphasis mine]

 

To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post

Pickleball: Run Do Not Walk to the NVZ (Video)

Every once in a while I find myself playing Pickleball (PB) with a player who does not feel comfortable playing at the net, i.e. near the non-volley zone (NVZ) line. Often these players are beginners so that can be understandable. When questioned, they report that they are not “good enough” or they can’t handle the fast balls.

Unfortunately, the best chances for winning the point are at the NVZ. Watch the expert matches, all four players will be at the NVZ as much as possible. Yes, a point can be one every now and then from the back of the court, but not consistently.

If a PB player wants to improve, they need to gain confidence at the Kitchen and what better way than by playing there? The brief video emphasizes this point.

>Mark Renneson breaks down the movement patterns of the best pickleball players after returning a serve.