Date: 25th August 2019
Travelled: 45 kms by bus from Ericeira to Sintra in the Province of Lisboa
Stayed: Intermarché aire, free with services. N38.96691, W09.40879
Budget: 77 days @ €75 per day
We enjoy a quiet evening in the Intermarché aire above Ericeira. There are only 4 dedicated places and the late comers jockey for the un-official spots on either side. The weather forecast has held, another cooler start and only 25 is predicted.
We have an early breakfast, before locking up the Hymer and walking down to the bus depot. Our bus departs on time (€6.40 pp) and we take in the scenery for 45 minutes on the 45 km trip to Sintra.
Map of Sintra.
Sintra is one of those places listed on the highlights of Portugal. The more we read the more we feel it may be a bit of a tourist trap, only the day will tell.
We arrive in Sintra on time. We go over to a tourist booth to purchase a local bus ticket as our guide book indicates. The girl tries hard to up-sell us an all-sites ticket, but we hold firm on the Palace and Castelo at less than half the price (€6.90 pp).
So by the time we take a second bus up to the historic centro then wait in a queue to catch a third bus up to the Palace, then queue to buy a palace ticket (€12.50 pp), then queue to enter the Palace more than 2 hours have elapsed since we arrived in Sintra. We notice many members of the Portuguese Olympic Queue Jumping Team, are having a training day. All have their own specialty technique. Such as sending your kid forward, then ostensively going to find them but never going back. Then there are the sidlers who walk like crabs looking into space whilst they sneak past you. I use the Australian remedy, in a load voice I state ‘your queue jumping please go back’, works well, the queue jumper look at me like I have a gun ! It is without doubt the worst organised place we have ever visited. Then just to top it off, once inside there is a ‘no photo’ sign…fxxk.
Set in a series of rippling mountains (our guides description) the palace was built on an early Moorish structure in 1260. It was expended again in the 15-16th century by the line of reigning monarchs. Other members of the court built stately home in the surrounding hills. All a little bit smaller and lower down as protocol required.
Sorry to report we decided could not to face another hour in a bus back up to the Castelo, so we headed for the bus depot and eventually Ericeira. Our original thoughts on Sintra confirmed, we will not be recommending it to our friends.
Michael and Pam