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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Drive-Through Trip to Sintra

Aloha Everyone,

We took a taxi this morning to Sintra, one of the major tourist destinations with palaces and manor houses. J.J. and I just wanted to get a quick glimpse of the place and see if it would be worthwhile for us to take a full day tour that would take up a minimum of 9 hours, plus a substantial cost, for a guided tour with other tourists in a mini bus from Lisboa.

We got peeks of palaces and castle walls. Sintra was developed as a summer retreat for royals. The forested resort town now suffers from over tourism. The town’s narrow, winding mountain roads were bumper to bumper with cars, hikers and policemen. J.J. called it a zoo. Our taxi driver apparently has never been to Sintra looked astounded as he navigated his older vehicle which squeaked and squealed whenever he made turns and stepped on his brakes. He was resourceful to stop and ask the way to the main attractions. I had planned to hop off, run up hills to take photos but there were absolutely no place to park or to stop. Our driver looked relieved when we told him to take us back to the hotel.

The best time J.J. and I figured would be late afternoon, preferably in not so good weather when other tourists are staying away :-). The taxi for a private two hours trip was less than €40. Group tours with a guide cost around €60 each. We decided one visit to Sintra was sufficient.

Our seafood dinner at a nearby restaurant to celebrate our 48th anniversary was wonderful! The large shrimps flown in from Mozambique were very sweet. J.J. also enjoyed his oysters.

When we asked our server, Matilde, to take a souvenir photo of our anniversary for us, she asked how many years have we been married. Matilde comes from Vicentina Coast. Quick research reveals that is it has 30 natural parks. Sounds truly amazing.  

It was another adventurous and memorable day!

Aloha -- Cathi