In an attempt to try to stay sane one must take advantage of the few (but yet existent) possibilities. As any returns to normal travelling might be difficult to foresee, as the future remains cloudy, I must try to preserve any remains of mental health.
Many have heard of Sintra. The first time I visited the magical town I was just a child, probably no more than eight years old. An impressionable kid, who fell immediately in love with the beautiful and colourful Palace of Pena. And, since then, I wanted to go back but the chance had never come up. As I’m stuck in portuguese lands for the time being, and the attractions are back to be opened to the public, I thought this was a great opportunity for a weekend getaway.
It is probably a privilege to visit Sintra so empty. I know that in the past few years it became Instagram famous, and often long queues under the hot sun would be waiting for any visitors. But now, with the lack of foreigner visitors and with most Portuguese population either staying at home or escaping towards the seaside or the countryside, Sintra was even more of a paradise for someone who likes to appreciate beautiful monuments and architecture.
What I think it’s so special about the Pena Palace is how much care it was given into making it look so damn beautiful whilst telling the story that Portuguese is. You find elements of moorish architecture mixed up with the Manueline style which recalls the epoque of the big Discoveries, when brave men turned to the ocean and its unknown to find new lands and possibilities.
It is still though an expression of the Romanticism blooming in Europe in the 19th century. Pena Palace is, in my opinion, the most beautiful in Portugal and, once again in my view, one of the most magnificient in Europe. And what makes it even more special is where it sits, at the top of a hill, surrounded by nature that seems to have a supernatural atmosphere attached to it. Indeed, in Sintra, everything seems somehow magical, mystical, eerie.
And only such a place could have inspired the creation of such a wonderful palace as this one.