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A meeting place is by definition a place where people meet. It can be a public landmark, a railway station, a pub, a café, a statue, a park gate or something iconic like under a well-known clock.
So how about the Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s vast riverside square where over the last centuries numerous processions, festivities, concerts and even executions have taken place. In 1974 thousands of people assembled here during the revolution that overthrew the dictatorial regime.
The Tourist Information Centre can be found in one of the classical old buildings on the west side as well as one of the city’s legendary cafes, Café Martinho da Arcada which dates from 1782 and was a favourite of poets Fernando Pessoa and Almeida Garrett and of novelist Eça de Queiroz.
The Statue is of King Jose I showing him on horseback, wearing his emperor’s mantle, and measuring 14 meters in height counting from the pedestal.
And at the northern side is the Arco da Rua Augusta, a triumphal arch that leads to the Rua Augusta, a beautifully paved pedestrianized street.
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The town of Sintra, Unesco-listed thanks to its extraordinary castles, palaces and country houses, is popular with Lisbon day-trippers. There is a lot of flamboyant architecture to see.
(please click on an image to enlarge)
The Park and Palace of Pena above the old town of Sintra are the finest examples of 19th century Portuguese Romanticism and the integration of natural and built heritage. It is another example (along with Rossio Station in Lisbon and Count Guimaraes Palace in Cascais) of neo-Manueline style, a revival architecture of the 19th/20th centuries.
This is as far as you go if you haven’t bought the full ticket. The coat of arms above the gateway is of Don Fernando II of Portugal and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He died in 1885 leaving the property to the Countess of Edla.
An alcove you pass on the way up to the second terrace, charmingly filled with a stone urn and lush tropical plants.
Allegorical gateway of the Creation. Half-man half-fish figure.
On your way up to the entrance you go past a lovely border of tropical planting, which all looks in much better shape than the actual Palace buildings, which I thought were rather tired and scruffy looking. I wanted to get a paintbrush out there and then!
It is a steep walk up to the Palace and you may prefer to take the 434 circular bus route from the railway station (regular trains to and from Lisbon make it an easy day out) to the historic centre of the Old Town, the castle and Pena Palace. If you walk from the station then you can enter the lovely Parque de Liberdade.
I went there on a very humid day in May, and found it a little disappointing. The exterior of the Palace and the Palacio Nacional de Sintra were in need of some TLC and I found the historic centre to be very crowded and it was very hot and sticky. Climbing up hill in those conditions do not suit me, but I would like to go back as there are many other sites to visit that are very interesting.
Have you visited Sintra? Did you go to the Pena Palace and Gardens? What are your thoughts?
Ailsa of “Where’s My Backpack?” was very surprised today to see a YELLOW orb in the sky. After 23 days of rain in January, the windiest December ever, and more rain to come, I was also blinded by the light today. There is one problem though, it showed up all the layers of dust in the house which have obviously built up whilst I have been busy blogging so I had to abandon my PC and look for a yellow duster which is why this particular post is later than usual. 😀
So finally having returned the yellow dusters to the cupboard, I went searching for some splashes of the sunny stuff in Lisbon, where I came across a few examples, including the header of yellow lilies and sunflowers and canopies of a flower stall in Praca Dom Pedro IV one of Lisbon’s busiest squares which was once used as a cattle market, a public execution centre, a bullfight arena and carnival ground. Rossio is the old heart of the city and popular with locals and tourists. There are many shops and cafés and the beautiful Rossio train station Continue reading Travel Theme: Amarelo