Okay, I gave this post the title of “Walking, Day Six” and we did walk but it was a different sort of walking. Over our beers last night, we decided that we had walked enough in the last five days to justify buying an “around town” bus pass to get us to the various castles/palaces, etc., that were on today’s agenda. With age comes wisdom.
It was another hot day but not having to trudge up the hills to get to the entrance points of our three destinations made a huge difference to morale. The morale was only slightly dampened when we realized that the bus stops were pretty much at the bottom of each location, thereby giving us ample opportunity to wear out a bit more boot leather.
Our three sights for the day were, in order, the Moorish Castle, Pena Place and Regaleira Palace, each as different in time and architecture as can be imagined.
The location of the Moorish Castle has an ancient history of use as a defensive position. The structure that trails along the hilltop dates from the 12th century but it was abandoned for centuries and was transformed in the 19th century by Fernando II into a “romantic ruin,” which well describes what we visited today. The plantings of hydrangea, among many other things, soften edges and lend a particularly lovely touch to the remains.
From the Moorish Castle, we headed (by bus) to Pena Palace, which is located on a neighboring hilltop. It is a Disneylandesque structure of little charm even if it has lot of visual bling. A monastery was first built on the site by Manual I and the monastery survived for centuries. The monestary buildings suffered damage in the 18th century by lightening and earthquake . . . some might say that God had spoken. Fernando picked up the property (along with the Moorish Castle) and turned the place into a summer residence for the royal family.
We ended our sightseeing for the day down in town at Regaleira Palace, also crazy over the top architecturally, but, somehow, more believable as a family residence, this time by some obscenely rich Brazilian coffee/gemstone magnate.
Beer, nap time, and blogging rounded out the afternoon.