Once upon a time, an American tourist heard about a colorful palace that sat high above the pine trees in Sintra, Portugal. Whimsical stories of a noble castle further piqued her interest. Ever since she was a little girl, she had loved fantasy and fairy tales; now, she had the chance to witness enchantment!
The tourist set out on an epic journey with a faithful friend. There was no denying that the two had a long trek ahead of them. In the town’s main square, they popped into Casa Piriquita to try one of Sintra’s famous desserts: travesseiros. Neither she nor her friend had tasted anything like it! The warm egg cream and almond pastry was a welcomed snack on a chilly morning in the mountains. Why not pack a box of travesseiros for the road? Perhaps, this is a modern version of “Little Red Riding Hood” (thankfully, no Big Bad Wolf)…
The girls began their hike up the monstrous hill where the towering Palace of Pena proudly overlooked the land below. How striking the royal residence was with its pink, yellow, purple, and blue facades! One could spend hours admiring the intricate Moorish architecture and artfully handmade tiling. Indeed, the girls spent the better half of the afternoon touring the palace grounds. They meandered along endless walking trails and became wonderfully lost amongst the pines. They even stopped to say “hello” to the Brabant horses in the old stable house. She couldn’t help but feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast for a day.
Through the thick of the woods, the dynamic duo caught a glimpse of the Castle of the Moors. Naturally, their curiosity got the best of them, so they made their way down one steep hill and up another equally steep hill. The imposing fortress walls were an amazing architectural feat. Despite the tourist’s fear of heights, she felt compelled to climb to the castle’s turret. She challenged herself to scale the rickety stone stairs. She huffed and she puffed until she finally reached the top. Leaning against an old cannon to regain her strength, she felt incredibly lucky for the breathtaking view. The arduous journey to the turret was a timely reminder that she could accomplish any goal if she has faith in herself.
I hope that you enjoyed my story! Sometimes, I can hardly contain my thoughts when I catch the creative writing bug. The “take home” message is that Sintra is truly awe-inspiring to behold. If you only have a short time in Portugal, spend at least a full day exploring the historic township. Who wouldn’t be enchanted by a palace that was built in 1836 and a castle built in the 8th century!? If Sintra is on your itinerary, send me an e-mail or a message and let’s make the most of your trip!