019 - Sintra V - Monserrate - Portugal

We finally arrive to our last location (as of writing this article) which is also the only place I wish I would live, for real. It is not high on top of a mountain (for everybody to look to), it is not a ruin but pretty much functional and easy to navigate. This is the Gardens and Palace of Monserrate:

019.1 The first time we came to Sintra we stood in a boring hotel, but the second time, we took a room inside a vila and it was really in tone with Sintra as a whole. 

019.2 This is the last day of our trip to Sintra, so this is also the last view (from our stay) of the Moorish Castle fortified wall.

019.3 We travel East, early in the morning, on foot towards Monserrate (a 1h and 15minute walk that can also be done by bus)

019.4 We went on foot because we thought that there will be a bunch of cool and beautiful things to see along the road but...

019.5 The only reason we stoped on the road, was to take a photo with this Native American type totem that sits actually on the farmland of Monserrate (again, everybody should just take the bus... no need to walk this distance). Interesting thing, this totem was carved by a welsh artist Nansi Hemming, all by just using a chainsaw... Read more here 

019.6 Skip forward another 20 minutes and we are inside the Monserrate Park, super thirsty and wanting also a coffee. On the map that we received at the entry, we see the first "viewpoint" sign, so we hurry towards it, and everybody should definitely do the same! The view is not like Pena Palace, true, and it also looks like an Orthodox Church, true, but the colours, the shape, the ceramics... I love it so much!

019.7 Here we also sat down and had a bunch of water, soda, coffee and something unhealthy to eat :)

019.8 One part of the journey that me and my wife loved, just like at Ponte de Lima, was laying down and taking photos of flowers and plants. It is so beautiful and so natural! Like this Passionflower!

019.9 On a similar Aeonium arboretum, there was a matching color spider. Sadly none of the photos are sharp (I did not have a macro lens back then so not that great with a dim lens...) so instead I showcase this shot, without the spider.

019.10 What a beautiful palace, a great home for a prince or extremely rich merchant. (I must stress out that I love the building inside and outside, and I am of no oriental roots so even if I am not used to seeing this kind, I really love it. But there is one thing I hate, and that is that pair of windows, at the last level, that can be seen in this picture. Why? Why they had to be there? 

019.11 A thousand years ago, a chapel was sitting here, and on its ruins 500 yrs later another chapel was built. On its ruins a Neo-gothic building took shape and on its ruins this magnificent palace sits. 

019.12 What I love about this place, is that it represents what used to be good in humans -> Transforming things that were destroyed by time or during a natural calamity and trying always to make in it's place a beautiful and long-lasting piece of story that still has elements from the past. As an engineer, I find it deeply saddening that I cannot make things that are both beautiful and lasting, because of companies and politics. It always has to be beautiful, but definitely not lasting. 

019.13 This is the exact image I saw on the internet when preparing the trip to Sintra. The first ones were the Initiation Well (Regaleira Estate) and then the milkshake coloured National Palace of Pena. The third image was of this splendid and spiritual cupola. I had to see it in real life, and you should too!

019.14 And how beautiful it is this corridor that connects the whole Palace from one extreme to the next. From the heavily walked ceramic tiles on the floor, to the crazy details on top, I could only wish to stop time, try to make the perfect picture, then learn how to draw just so that I can study every detail and try to make the same.

19.15 This is the same corridor, but I pointed the camera upwards. It looks like very complex lacework, the ones used to be put on bride's dress. This picture I made so that I can turn it into a fairly large puzzle. 

019.16 In fact, the whole palace has these extremely gorgeous and elaborated ceilings... Even jewellery is not that intricate! You would think that this is from an Opera House but no... well technically this chamber was used to listen to music but only by the English owner plus family and friends. Now we as tourists we can only imagine. 

019.17 No palace can be without a library room, and while the interior is a bit American looking like, the door however is the most beautiful piece! But also the door (that is made out of heavy wood, with 3D carvings and decorations) doesn't match at all with this room. 

019.18 This used to be the kitchen but I guess they could not keep it as it used to be. It really is a shame, I bet it was ten times more beautiful as it was in 2017 when I saw it. 

019.19 Back to the main tower, we have climbed to the first floor (only place allowed) and the view is beautiful to say the least. Granted, the best view is from bellow but nonetheless even from here, we can imagine the parents yelling after the kids (in opposite rooms) to wake up :)) 

I literally made dozens of photos, just with one room, or just with the entrance, or even the coridor. What I show here, no matter how great I think the photo is (and they are not profesional level) it still pales in comparison with seeing the place in real, in person. 

019.20 Wonder where all humans are from my pictures? Well they are outside, on one of the most awarded gardens (that belongs to a Palace) in Europe. 

019.21 And what a garden would be without flowers? Like this Agapanthus Africanus

019.22 Perhaps to symbolise that a very long time ago, here used to be a chapel, then another one, the English merchant who bought the land and built all this beautiful wonder, made also, on purpose, this chapel ruin looking-like. Apparently this place is for rent, and it can cost from 1000e to 2000e depending of how many people are attending the ... event. 

019.23 Judging from the location, it is safe to say that many couples will come here to post in front of the Palace or in front of this False-Ruin Chapel, in wedding dress and costume. 

019.24 I knew that this is a false ruin before coming here, but we must give credit where credit is due! And that rubber tree that sits just like the arch! 

019.25 There are also water ponds, and the Water Lilies were not missing. Of all the water lilies that I photographed from 2016 to 2023, this is still my favorite. 

019.26 I starter writing about my trips, back in 2017 actually on www.colorpixel.org. Since then I changed the name 3 times, now is www.europeoncamera.com. Up until the introduction of Google Lens (probably AI software) I did not know what flowers were these... I have two book about flowers and it was in none. These are Pericallis Webbii and they are from Madeira island. 

I did not make photos of all the flowers. In fact we stood only 4 or 5 hours (plus the one hour road), but most of the time was spent in the palace and the fake-ruin. 
I found that making photos of bright orange or bloody red flowers was hard on my camera. I had to make a manual White Balance that could help me more, but then I would go in a darker area and ... like I stated in the beginning, I wish I had a macro lens, back then. 

019.27 Torelus Orange Red Orchid - very hard to nail focus on this one. I guess my Canon's sensor did not know where the spikes were on the bottom petal. 

019.28 Parrot Plant -> they do look like little carnivore plants, don't they?

019.29 After many hours spent at Monserrate, we took the bus towards the Train Station, then took the train towards Lisbon and from there, we are in the Alpha Pendular train, back to the Galicia. But this is what we did the second time we visited Sintra.

019.30 From Sintra, we took our car and went to Lisbon for a few days, so why not join us, on the next article.

A lot was said about Sintra in five articles. 
Each location did feature something unique, and there is even more places to visit, all in the same location.
You can easily spend even a week here and try horseback riding, or visit some small caves in the area, or even go to the beach and see the place that supposed to hide tritons.

For Monserrate, the advices are: take the bus, it is not worth walking, unless you like doing that (the bus is small and crowded, but it is fast). 
Also pack a macro lens, wide lens and even zoom lens. Yup, bring your gear as you will also need a fast lens for interior shots (we do not use tripods or monopods).
Pack water because the eating area is not that close, nor the toilet area.
Bring something to draw if you like doing that, there are actually many.
Be prepared for wedding photoshoots (they are pretty often, we were lucky that at the hour we got here, no such thing was going on).
Enjoy the vastness of the estate!

Hope you enjoyed this article, and see you in the next one!

Source: http://www.aminhasintra.net/sintraclopedia/lenda-de-monserrate

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