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Travelogue: Spain and Portugal
Sintra: Getting There
The Pena Palace is at the top of Sintra's large hill, above the Moorish Castle. It seemed logical to begin there and work our way back down. It's a "fantasy castle," built as a summer residence by Prince Ferdinand in 1840. The architecture is whimsical and quirky, to say the least, looking a bit like someone crossed a fortress with Disneyland. Prince Ferdinand was German-born, an eccentric artist, and the husband of Portugal's Queen Maria. After touring his palace, I think it is safe to say that this fellow was a character.
The architect, Ludwig von Eschwege of Prussia, was quite probably a character as well. The palace is covered with tiles, turrets, and strange bits of ornamentation, like the bay window that Dan captured nicely. Eschwege was evidently a modest fellow, too: he placed a statue of himself, gazing out to sea, a little ways out from the palace on the crest of the hill.
We looked around the exterior for a bit, and then headed inside to take the tour of the palace interior. It was richly furnished, as you might expect of a palace. The collection included furniture designed by Eiffel, and china designed by Ferdinand himself. I particularly liked the central atrium, a sunny space filled with plants.
One of the palace legends is that the place settings at the dining table were left just as you see them today when the family fled during the revolution in 1910.
After touring the interior, we spent some more time exploring the outdoor courtyard.