We just fell in love with Sintra as so many before us have, like Portuguese kings and English nobility. It is definitely a place to stay much longer than we did. DaVinci said he could live here which is his ultimate complement. The whole area is a World Heritage Site. (One of these days I must add up all the World Heritage Sites we have seen as there have been a ton.) We will break it up into into a few posts with few words and lots of pictures to give you a taste.
If you like Tuscany or Provence, you will like Sintra. Each is different of course, but they are all special country areas that are beautiful. I had heard others raving about Sintra, so I knew we did not want to miss it, but I did not know quite what we were in for.
It is really beautiful and full of charm with lots of nature and interesting architecture. Portugal was obviously still winning at soccer/football because we heard lots of commotion every now and then at one of the nearby outdoor cafes where a crowd was gathered intensely watching the large flat screen TV placed outside. I think I heard they eventually lost, but hope was high during our stay and their passion for the game made us grin.
We wandered around, visited the tourist office for more information and found a small grocery store tucked away that the locals used, where we bought a few supplies for a picnic to add to our backpack. Our goal this year is to be really focused on good eating habits, so picnics work better for us in this way, plus saves a lot of money. With a kid in tow it is always tempting to grab a pizza, touristy junk food or ice cream, but since our life is one big vacation we are getting good at making better choices and cherishing our healthy picnics full of healthy protein, whole grains and fruit. Gas is costing more this year, so we are also grateful for how much we save money-wise.
We ran into many families with young children and talked to a few from the U.K. , one with a very young baby. They thought it was a great place for a family vacation and it is quite easily done from their corner of the planet. There are lots of good places to stay at reasonable prices they said and added that everyone was very accommodating.
We would have liked to stay at least a week as there is a lot to see at each site, so it would be nice to really take it in deeply in a leisurely way, inside and outside in the massive gardens, with just one site a day. Unfortunately, we had to do it all in a day trip, so could not see it all, but we managed to see the best things and enjoyed our day immensely. It just went by too fast!