The Strange Town of Sintra
I had read a little bit about Sintra and the Moorish Fortress here, and I had hoped that it was part of the tour--the part where you go there but it isn't on the itinerary. It SHOULD be on the itinerary. There's a ton to see and a neat, cool town to visit. Of course, nothing is like you think it is going to be.
Sintra! Looking back, I'm still thinking a lot about the whole earth mother, Gaia, Trees, and now Elves thing in the Iberian Peninsula. You expect leprecauns and fairy tales in Ireland, and unicorns in Scotland, but not elves in Spain. They are too Catholic.
Then, as we walked to the station to catch a train back to Lisbon, we passed this row of old, old houses, in terrible disrepair, overgrown and collapsing; full of ghosts and bedtime stories, and the address for this one, is No. 13.
The National Park
Sintra is both the name of the town at the base of the mountain and the name of the park. So when you say Sintra, you need to be specific, as walking up, or down, for that matter from the town to the castle/museum would take all day.
We took a cab from Lisbon up to the entrance of the lower castle. (Never made it up to the fort which is higher up the mountain.) It's kind-of like Hawaii--only one road in and the same road out.
On the way out, the buses had stopped running, and, of course, where is a taxi at the top of the mountain when you need one. They've solved the problem by having these 3-5 person modified golf carts. You pay about 5 euro to get a breath-taking, wild man ride as fast as they can go while wedged into a tight seat without a seat belt around hair-pin turns straight down to town. They go so fast because then they have to drive back up to the top to get in another load of people before the end of the day.
Then they ask if you want to go to the bus station or the train station. You shrug??? They take you to the bus station because the train station is a ways up the road, then, you walk and walk to get there. I do not know why I didn't get a picture of the line-up of these golf cart buggies. Next time.