|Fountain in Rossio, Lisbon|
Upon arrival at Sintra, by the morning train from Lisbon, I signed on to a bus tour with a company whose name I can't remember. It was a hop-on/hop-off gig. That is, you can ride the bus around to the various sights, get off at any place that appeals, see what you will, then hop back on the bus when it comes around again.
To visit all the sites in Sintra would require a Herculean effort, even had I more than the one day I'd allotted for it. I've found that, even if you're a meticulous planner (which I am not), travel often requires snap decisions. You make a choice and you go with it, for better or worse. So, realizing that there was more to see than time to spend, I took the advice of a tour guide and selected the Palacio da Regaleira as my first destination.
|The mansion of Palacio da Regaleira|
|Ornate lintel in the mansion|
|Along the path|
|Spiral staircase descends to caves|
|Sights along the way|
|Lovers at the beach|
|Lighthouse in the fog|
|Rocky Portuguese coast|
|Rugged and rocky|
|Cabo da Roca|
The open vistas and the mild temperature were so inviting after close-in Lisbon, with her narrow streets and endless row houses, that I made a snap decision to get off the bus and enjoy the view of the Atlantic in lieu of visiting Pena Palace. I learned long ago that, as a traveler, you should always assume that you will return one day. It relieves you of the pressure to see everything you want to see and allows you to enjoy the things that you have time to see.
And so, I spent another hour or two hiking around the heights above the vast Atlantic, enjoying the sea air and the relative solitude. I had a lunch of bread and fish soup at the restaurant and then caught the bus for a ride to the train station, thence back to Lisbon. Pena Palace will have to wait for my next visit.
Today is my last day in Portugal. This time around anyway. Tonight I catch the night train to Madrid, there to visit El Prado and El Escorial and see what I might see of that grand city.
In a matter of hours, I'll say farewell to Lisbon with her pastel-colored houses and brick streets. It's been good.