Saturday, September 22, 2007


Matt and I have taken the girls on several day trips around the Lisbon area. One of them was to Balem. For more than a century, Portuguese ships left from Belem in search of new worlds. The ships brought back with them riches from unknown lands. Above, is a photo of the Monument of the Discoveries. It was built in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of Prince Henry the Navigator's death. The prow of a ship faces out to sea with an image of Prince Henry at the helm. Behind him are other heroes of the discoveries, including Gil Eanes, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral and poet Luis de Camoes.

Below, is a photo of Matt and Olivia at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. This is where, in 1497, Vasco da Gama spent his final night before setting off to discover a sea route to India.

A couple of weeks later, we headed into Sintra. Sintra was once the summer residence of the kings of Portugal and is still where wealthy Lisboetas come when they want to escape the city. In June and July, the Sintra Musical Festival takes place. It is one of Portugal's top classical music festivals featuring international artists and Matt and I are looking forward to enjoying the festival next year. Below is a photo of The Palacio Nacional. The conical chimneys stand out as you drive into the Sintra city center. The palace was begun by Joao I in the late 14th century and completed by Manuel I in the Manueline style.

Many of the rooms have beautiful tiled walls as seen below in this family photo.

Finally, we climbed the remnants of the Moors' Castle. Built in the 9th century and captured by Afonso Henriques in 1147.
We want to head back to Balem and Sintra to see a couple of the places we've missed. Most of the places we've visited so far have been crowded and it's been very hot. Now that tourist season is over, and admission is free to most historical sites on Sunday mornings, our goal is too see as much as we can before the rainy winter season begins.

1 comment:

Alaska Dunns said...

Beautiful. I'm definitely interested in an overseas tour, now.