I have been in Sintra both in 2015, when travelling the Iberian Peninsula for 18 days as well as during my stay in Portugal in 2017. You will find both stories here:
Arriving at the bus station in Lisbon I have to find my way to Sintra, my next destination. I had planned to go to Èvora, but changed my mind because I did not get a host there and Maria J. recommended me to go to Sintra instead. I thought there will be a bus, too, for Sintra, but I have to take a train. I first asked at a ticket office for the bus. The clerk also told me, where the train station is. I could not sort out what ticket I should take in the ticket machine at the train station and had to ask at the counter anyway. I also asked, when the next train is leaving for Sintra and I was told, that it is in some minutes, but I was not told that I have to change the train. In the train I tried to get a view of how far Sintra is, but I could not really understand the sign with the lines. I learned it the hard way, because I was going to far. I had to go back two stops and change to another train. When I was going back a conductor came to check our tickets and I told him, that I was doing wrong and had to go back. Kindly he explained the system for me and the green line, which I have to use for Sintra.
Finally in Sintra there was an “ask me” counter at the railway station, so I did and asked for the directions to the hostel, where I booked a bed. I was told, that it was only 5 minutes away and I found it easily, too. The hostel was on the second floor in an old building. My first impression was by André, a nice Portuguese guy and the only Portuguese of the staff. I tried to pay cash, but there was no change and he told me, that I could pay later. I have got bed no. 3 in room no. 1. It was a mixed dorm for six. At the one wall there were two beds occupied by Italians – a mother with her son as it looked like. At the other wall there were a male traveller from Italy. On both sides of me there was an empty bed. I sorted my bags and put my important things in a locker, then I was going out to walk the inner city.
The kitchen in the hostel was tiny and we had to eat in the lounge, but that was OK. The bathroom was clean, even it was only one toilet and one shower. Fortunately we where not many females at this hostel.
I spent the most of this day in the area around Sintra. I was allowed to have my luggage at the hostel meanwhile I was exploring more of this town and the surroundings. Sintra is situated close to a national park. It has an old, historical town and the new city. I started to walk to the historical part of the town. On the way I met some sellers, who tried to sell their handcrafted items like bracelets, watches etc. Before I left the hostel this day I did not find my watch. Anyway I had to catch a train in time to meet my friend and host Lucas in Lisbon. Though I bought a new watch of one of these sellers. The watches he sold had all straps made of cork. It was really difficult to choose, there were more than one I liked. They were sold for only 10 EUR and I was hoping, that the new one will be as good as the one I have had before (which I bought for 149 SEK) – lasting for more than twenty years and still showing exactly the time.
I continued to the Castle of Mouro. It is not only old, it is big, too and one had to climb lots of stairs. The staircases have no railings and one was all the time close to a steep. The stairs were very difficult for me to force because my fear of heights, but I did it over and over again. I spent around two hours there, maybe more.
Leaving this Castle I was looking for the Palace of Pena. I found the way easily, but the palace was on another hill and I had to walk upwards for a while. Even it was quite warm – around 28 degrees Celsius, but it is not humid on the peninsula – it was easy to climb. I was surprised about the make of the palace and I was overwhelmed of the art, which is present here. Even at this place I spend a couple of hours and my way back to Sintra took a while, too. Therefore I did not have time for the third attraction in the national park, where I was walking. Maybe I will come back and look for it, but at this time I had to go further to Lisbon.
Saturday, 17th June 2017
Well in Sintra there were these tuc tucs and I was asking one of them, how much it will be to drive me to the lower castle – because I had not been there last time (May 2015) and the heat. He told me, the blue tour will be for 18 EUR, but I should walk, because that building is not far away. I left with a smile – he was not eager to skin tourists. I started walking the way I knew already and wondering if there still will be people selling handmade items. Actually there were, but none, who sold just watches with cork bracelets. There was one, who had some watches, but none I liked. I do not really need a watch. The one I bought in Canada is working great. I love cork, though I bought a bracelet of cork at another stall instead. There were so many to choose, finally I decided for the one I bought.
I was a little hungry now, but mostly longing for an ice cream. With only a 50 EUR-note in my pocket, it was not easy to buy one. I bought a fan for three Euros, wich I still had in coins and tried to get an ice cream, but the assistant did not care about me at all, though I left and ended up at the Gazeta restaurant instead, having a meal.
I did eat all, but the onions – I already have problems with my stomach, and continued further. I reached the entrance of the Parque de Liberdade and tried to have a look inside the building next to it. It was used by the municipality of Sintra and I have got the impression, that it was open for public also on weekends, but it was not.
I walked the park in the hope of coming to the red building I have seen from downtown and I though it was the castle, I have not seen yet. As you can imagine, I reached the building, but it was not, what I had expected. It was just an abandoned house, once a hotel. It was in a very bad condition. I was disappointed, of course and tried to find the Museum of Sintra, but did not find it either. Walking the park again for the shade I also had a rest there. Finally I was back downtown and walking further down to the Historic town of Sintra. That part was mostly not in a good condition either, but there was the Anjos Teixera Museum. It was about father and son and their sculptures. There were a lot of them inside the museum. The entrance fee was only 1 EUR, though I did not ask if they have special prices for seniors ;-)!
It was not only an interesting hour at the museum, but also one without the heat. After leaving the museum I was going downtown again, but another way I had been coming, though there were no need for using lots of stairs. I still felt for an ice cream and thought, there will be a restaurant where the parasols are, but there was a flea market. The stalls were placed in a long line, most of them selling really old items, some touristic ones like towels with the Portuguese rooster or the name of Portugal. Actually, I also found a restaurant there – at the side of it, but they did not have the ice cream I wished. Anyway I did buy an Solero and was then going back to the train station.
There was just a train arriving and one should leave some minutes later – on the same track. Also on the information screen there were all trains going to Lisbon Oriente. I remembered, that Sintra was the last destination of the train I was coming with and understood, that no trains are going further – all trains are going back to Lisbon instead and I entered that train. Anyway there were confused tourists, leaving the train again. If they had asked, they had not left, I think.
Please go back by the link to Lisbon.