France and Portugal Vacation: 12 May 2023 - Castelo in Sintra on to Belém

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Friday, May 12 - Castelo in Sintra on to Belém

Due to our late start the day before, there was one major site in Sintra we didn't get to see: the Moorish Castle. So we decided to take the first part of Friday to go out to Sintra again to go up to the castle ruins. Why not? Our Lisboa card covered the train ticket! We were able to schedule our breakfast for 8:45, and got the 9:41 train out to Sintra, arriving before 10:30 to catch one of the buses that makes a circuit around the area and up the steep hills. Once at the entrance to the castle grounds, we figured out how to get the automatic ticket machines to accept our Lisboa Card discount, and headed up to the highest summit first. It was extremely windy, which added a brisk chill to the air, but the scenery was staggeringly gorgeous, including a view all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean five miles away. Setting a meeting time and place, Ginger descended while Neil continued exploring and taking pictures at his own pace.

Photos from Friday morning (3 images) Photos from the Moorish Castle (58 images)

Returning to Lisbon shortly after 2:30 in the aftenoon, we relaxed at the hotel for a bit, which of course entailed Neil having an afternoon coffee made with the in-room Nespresso machine. Then we planned our route to what we wanted to see in Belém toward the West of the city for the rest of the day. On our way, we found the world famous chocolate cake shop, Landau Chocolate. It was indeed delicious, just as the recommendations had said!

Photos from Friday afternoon (19 images)

We then hopped on a bus to the bay to try to get into the Jerónimos Monastery in Belém. Apparently, even though it was open till 6:00, the last entry time was 5:00, so we had missed it by 30 minutes or so. Oh well. We were able to walk around the outside, though, and walk along the bay to see some other sights we wanted to visit, including the the Monument to the Discoveries – an ode to the shipping past of Portugal – and Belém Tower.

Photos from Belém (51 images)

For dinner, it was leftover pizza from the night before! And because of our missed transport in Toulouse, we figured we'd confirm our transport to the airport in two days just to make sure, since that was going to be a pretty critical leg. The hotel staff person Miguel was so nice to let Neil use his cell phone to make the call.

Photos from Friday evening (23 images)

On to the next day >