Palácio da Pena, Most Impressive, Most Amusing

Sintra, is a lovely city not far from Lisbon and most certainly worth the trip, if not for the … no, not the Galo of Barcelos, but for him
because he is part of the the Palácia da Pena.
Quite a different cookie, isn’t it?
This palace, that used to be the summer residence of Queen Maria da Glória and
her husband Ferdinand von Saksen-Coburg,

who built it next to an old cloister of which the chapel still exists.
As you can see the Pena is high up on a mountain and way to get there is in a horsedrawn carriage, a most loverly ride through the forest of proud trees and wild flowers isn all colours of the rainbow, and the park of some 600 acres that surrounds the palace.

Good old Ferdinand may have been a nice chap, but one wonders if he had much talent as an architect. He does like mixing styles, though.
The Moorish entrance gate

takes us to the fairy-tale palace, with pilars of twisted ropes, walls of gravel and coal,
minarettes with Gothic windows, baroque gates and yellow towers that look like onions.
a jazzy building that houses the castle’s clock, no doubt a souvenir from his Austrian past.

Poor chap wanted to create something quite unique. He did, but let’s be honest … this does make you grin, doesn’t it?
Inside it isn’t any better and I almost broke my ankle, or worse, because I slipped on the super-shiny floor and fell backwards with my head nearly on a stone threshold. My daughter saved me by breaking my fall with her legs on the stone. Ankle was in a mess and no tennis for me for the rest of the holiday.
But, every year we went back to the Pena and every year discovered something new to giggle about.


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