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:: Sintra

Wednesday was our last full day in Portugal. While we were a bit worn out from all the traveling, we made a valiant effort to visit Sintra for the day (pictures here). Sintra is a small town just outside of Lisbon that Portuguese royalty used to call home. It was a short ride on a commuter rail out to Sintra. Along the way you'd periodically see parts of this incredible aqueduct system that moved water between the two cities. While some of it was overrun by weeds, the whole thing still looked pretty solid. Let's hear it for engineering.


Once in Sintra we made the wise decision to purchase an all-day tourist bus pass. As our bus zig-zagged up the mountain to the castle, we caught glimpses of worn out tourists whose faces were covered in regret. We rode all the way to the top to see Pena Palace (many of the other famous buildings along the route were closed for the day).


Pena Palace is basically Portugal's version of Neuschwanstein (Pena Palace supposedly influenced Ludwig's castle, which is the one in Germany that looks like something from a Disney fairy tale). PP was kind of fun- it had all sorts of ridiculous towers, pathways, and castle walls for you to explore. I'm not sure the place would be all that practical if you had to live there, but I guess you have to find something to spend your money on when you're king. Amy and I wandered around the castle for a while before deciding to call it quits. We planned on walking down the hill, but we took some wrong turns, got severely lost in the garden, climbed back up the hill, and then waited for the next bus to do the job right. There's a lesson for you- if you're going to walk down a mountain, make sure you wind up on the right side of it.


We were cold so we took a quick ride around town in our tourist bus and caught the next train back into Lisbon. At the rail stop in Lisbon, you could see part of the giant aqueduct system, crossing a deep valley. Unfortunately, it was too far away to walk to or get a good picture of (try google). It was starting to get late so we made our way home to our Americanized hotel. Along the way we picked up some food from a corner grocery store, as well as a kitschy alarm clock (that has an lcd sequence of panda bears playing, and saying "Hello!" for no apparent reason). Ahh yes.. Nothing is more European to me than eating blocks of cheese on ripped-up bread slices in a quiet hotel room. If only the Kellegous had been there to trade us some of his Captain Jacques snack cakes.

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