Sintra is a very magical place according to many sources. I think this is why Hans Christian Andersen chose to live here for a few years. This place has inspired many of his stories and works. We are staying in the house he lived in. There is a book full of his stories. I read a few and there was evidence of Sintra in the first paragraph that he wrote of "The Gardener and the Family".
Sintra is around 5 miles from Lisbon the capital of Portugal. Our neighbours have a big old manor with pointed gables, it has a large garden. At our house there is a flower garden, a kitchen garden, and box hedges. In the picture beside the page from the book, you will find oranges and lemons, picked from our own garden. Anyway there is a lot of Sintra in his stories.
In case you don't know who Hans Christian Andersen is, I wrote a very small biography for you:
Hans Christian Anderson (H.C Andersen), born April 2, 1805, died August 4, 1875, was a very successful Danish author, he wrote many lovable plays, novels, travelogues, poems, and greatest of all, fairy tales. In total he has a combined amount of 3381 works, and translated into 125 languages.
His fairy tales include some classics such as, “The Ugly Duckling”, The Little Mermaid”, Thumbelina” and MANY more. His stories have inspired ballets, plays, animated and live-action films.
Post by Lief
Report by Sol and Kiki.
Sintra is the perfect place for Sol to learn about the rock cycle.
As a little intro: Sintra is part of the Sintra Hills, ranging 16 kilometers from Sintra to Cabo da Roca on the Atlantic Ocean. It was known in the Ancient World as Lunae Mons (Mountain of the Moon) and was the legendary retreat of Diana the Huntress (known as Cynthia to the Romans, hence Cintra). But I digress...
We walked up along ancient footpaths on this hill (photo below) that leads to the Castle of the Moors which you can faintly make out on top:
Back to Sol and learning about the rocks here. First Sol watched a Youtube video about the rock cycle.
Today I learnt about the rock cycle. There are three main processes of the rock cycle:
1. Melting and Cooling
2. Weather and Erosion
3. Heat and Pressure
1. Melting and Cooling in Sintra:
I found this information on a sign on the path to the top of the hill:
2. Weather and Erosion:
I learnt that weather and erosion breaks down rock. I found different examples along the path. Here are some photos I took:
3. Heat and Pressure:
The final stage in the cycle is heat and pressure.
Rock deep in the ground, it becomes soft and it eventually turns into metamorphic rock.
Metamorphic means 'change in form': these processes cause the change in the rocks.
Over the past three days, we have been going to Lisbon because we bought these cards called "Lisboa Card"s (Lish-boa to the Portuguese) which give you discounts on attractions and free public transit and such. I will tell you a little about these three days.
Day One/ Sunday 19
We took the train to Lisbon-Entrecampos station, just the three of us, Tracy, LIef, and Sol. Mom stayed home because she pulled a muscle in her back and we were taking bikes so she knew that it wasn't a great idea if she came. We got out of the train and were heading to the beach to have lunch when we spotted a very large park on a hill, we thought that it was a cool park so we decided to explore. At the top we saw a huge flag of Portugal, two 40-foot towers, and a fountain with a view.
After enjoying the view for a minute we zoomed back down the hill back to the road. It didn't take us that long, as it was all downhill, to get to the TimeOut Market, it was right above the beach. Sol had pasta with pesto, I had glass noodles with raw salmon in a spicy/sweet chilli sauce, and Tracy had hummus and veggies for lunch. At that time we had only used our Lisboa Cards once (for the train) so my dad suggested we go to an attraction. We looked around in the Lisboa Card book to see the free attractions. We found one. Pilar 7 of the 25 de Abril Bridge that connects Lisbon to Almada.
We biked there from the market, it took us about 25 minutes, it was really close. We locked our bikes and went inside, got free tickets and went into the museum of the bridge. It wasn't an actual building that the museum was in, it was out side. There was a pathway and these big rusty circles that you would stand on or look at. They have writing engraved into them, telling you about the bridge's history and how it was built. After that walk there was another building with a model of the bridge, and in the next building there was security, like in the airport. After that, there was an elevator to the top of the bridge. From the top you could see a lot, the whole beach to the west and an exceptional view of Lisbon. On the top of the bridge there was this glass box that out could go into and you could see way below you onto the hard road, that was really cool to do that.
Next, after the bridge experience, we headed to a monastery but decided against going in. There was a park nearby so we played some soccer there, by that time we were getting tired so we headed home and had a quiet evening.
Day two/Monday 20
On the second day, Kiki activated her Lisboa Card and joined us on the train to Lisbon. All four of us came today. The train takes about 45-50 minutes from Sintra to Lisbon, depending on which stop you would like to get off at.
We got out at Rossio Station. It's underground as it is in the middle of Rossio Square, a very famous square which leads to another famous site, Rua Augusta. We took a side road to the ocean as Rua Augusta is very busy with merchants trying to sell you things, mostly food. By the time we got to the ocean, it was around noon, and we were in the middle of another square at the end of Rua Augusta. There was a nice Italian place to the left of us so we decided to go there. Very pricey food, but we were very hungry at that point, (I'm always hungry) so we stayed. I got ravioli with a meat-sauce, Sol: pasta with pesto (again), Tracy: vegetarian lasagne, and Kiki had a pizza with arugula and goat's cheese. After that our stomachs were full and my dad paid the bill.
We took a tram all the way to the monastery I talked about yesterday. In that same building there was not only a church, but the National Museum of Archaeology. Everything was closed. Not one of those three were open. Kiki was sad because she had really hoped to go into the museum. We decided we'd go, instead, to MAAT (The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology). We all felt disappointed, as it was closed till March 27, for renovations. Turned down to 4 attractions, we took a tram to a big hill, while my dad was looking desperately for an open attraction.
The thing we chose to visit was a castle. Castelo de São Jorge to be exact. It was a beautiful castle with a breathtaking view. The view was just so amazing. It was perfect weather as well. My parents got wine at a place called "Wine with a View", they loved that. They say it was the best part of their day. Inside the castle there were many peacocks, male and female. So many beautiful colours that the peacocks showcased. It was about closing time by the time we were done at the castle. We were, at that point, exhausted and headed home.
Day three/Tuesday 21
Today, Sol, Kiki, and I, were the ones to go to Lisbon. Tracy stayed home, he had had enough of Lisbon. Our Lisboa cards expire at 11:30am, so we got up early. On the way to the station, we were playing street soccer and Sol kicked the ball through some animal dung. That sucked and Sol wasn't very happy because he had picked up the ball and touched the poop. There was a bathroom at the station. You have to pay 50 euro cents, and there wasn't even any soap! What a rip off!
After that exiting start to our day, we quickly took public transit to our destination. The National Museum of Archaeology. We got there and there was a lot to see. The whole museum was based in this very large old building. Inside we found many different objects, ranging from the tiniest ring or earring to a mammoth-sized statue of a Roman god. The first exhibition they showcased was named "Egyptian Antiquities". It featured amulets, vases, statues, mummies, and much, much more. Another exhibition was about Roman Archeology. We saw mostly gravestones and engravings, but we also spotted many statues and busts as well. Next, there was a room full of Portuguese treasures, made out of gold, silver and other gems.
In the same building as the museum, there was an ancient church. It looked very intriguing so we moseyed inside. The walls were very beautiful and had murals on them. If you pay one euro, you can light a candle for Jesus Christ. So we all did that, and made a wish as we did it.
Our Lisboa Cards expired. We were all tired for three straight days in Lisbon so, tired, we did school on the train.
PS: Sorry this took so long to come out
PPS: Sorry that this post is so long
Post by: Lief
Soccer in this month. I went to the park and played soccer there. I played soccer in a square in Lisbon. I played soccer in another park in Sintra. We went to Força Portugal. Força Portugal is a store based on soccer. We went to a soccer stadium.
I like soccer. I also like sports. I also like to play cards.
Quinta da Regaleira, also known as The Palace of Mystery in Sintra, is a beautiful place full of history, myths, symbolism and has a magical vibe. Even though most tourists are attracted to visit the eccentric 19th Century gothic Palacio da Regaleira and its mysterious Initiation Well, it really started with 'Da Torre', a 17th century tower which could have just stepped out of a deck of Tarot cards.
This tower is the centre of what over time developed into a magical five-pointed property where one wanders mesmerized through the stunning gardens full of lakes, fountains, grottoes and wells and a vast array of architectural wonders.
Most of these creations originated between 1904-1910 with designs by the Italian architect Luigi Manini commissioned by former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.
There is so much to see, to learn and to take in. Lief and Sol explored the grounds, armed with maps and cameras at the high pace of paparazzi. Tracy and Kiki took it all in at a slower pace.
Manini embedded the buildings and structures with many symbols related to alchemy, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrusians and Masonry, blending designs with Roman, Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Sculptures with mythical stories are abundant in the park, whether placed in a 'Gruta' (grotto), 'Fonte de Agua' (water fountain) or on the 'Patamar dos Deuses' (path of the Gods)
We were all intrigued by the ''Poco Iniciatico' (Initiation Well) and 'Poco Imperfeito (Unfinished Well), a pair of upside down towers spiralling deep within the earth. The Initiation Well has many underground caves and tunnels leading to different exits. These wells were not used for water collection, but instead were used for secretive initiation rituals.
The 88 feet (27 meters) descent into the earth on a staircase divided with 9 platforms has symbolic meaning including the death/rebirth allegory common to many hermetic traditions. One of the underground tunnels leads to a symbolic exit where one walks upon water.
Written and created by Kiki
It's embarrassing to say, but a sign of the times, that a big part of this trip is attention and devotion to technology. Each of us now has a cell phone. Three of the four of us have laptops. We have an ipad. Among us, we have 9 devices that connect to the internet. Each of these gadgets was chosen and justified for a specific reason.
Kiki + cell and laptop + bike lighting = business, meditation, blogging, communication, entertainment.
Tracy + cell phone + laptop + iPad + Garmin computer + bike lighting + DVD player + battery pack = work, communication, blogging, reading, yoga, research for trip.
Lief + cell phone + laptop + bike lighting = school work, photos, communication.
Sol + cell phone + bike lighting = not being left out, photos
Of course, all this requires space, our attention, electricity, and not insignificantly - cords. Now that we're settled for awhile in our first location for some time, all of this tech is now spread out like a small explosion, with bits here and there.
Public wifi has permeated most public spaces. It's nearly a human right. The rule of law, freedom of thought, clean water, electricity and wifi. Kiki continues to use her cell from home with its 250-637 number. She is "internationally roaming", meaning paying for always on access to all cell networks in Europe. Having the Sun Studio remain open obligates her to stay connected in this way.
After a disconnected week (cell data, not wifi!), Tracy is now connected again with a Europe-wide phone company through Vodafone. This required emails with Telus to unlock the phone, challenging conversations with various companies, much online research... In the end, Vodafone had the nicest logo. Tracy now has a +351 number, Portuguese country code. Whether he can receive calls from Canada or not is a mystery.
While Tracy and the boys have been out already, we managed to get four operational bikes and more importantly, operational people together for our first ride on this trip. Kind of a tester for how it's going to go. It was a stunner of a day, so we tried to make it out to a beach straight west from Sintra. We pumped tires, lubed chains, put on the bike gloves, grabbed snacks and programmed Google Maps for a "walk" to Praia Grande (Big Beach in English). We rode through farmer's fields and down muddy trails, but arrived hungry and dirty to Colares, settling for lunch there instead of beach. Trip back trashed and humbled us with elevation (410m total), with walking up many / most of the steep sections. Still, everyone smiling and not killing each other. Kiki impressed Tracy to no end by riding up most of the big hills. He's worrying about her a lot less now after this ride.
Here are some photos and videos I have taken of this trip, they are a collection from our flights, walks, and adventure that we have embarked on in Portugal.
Post by Lief.
report by Sol Morton
What I liked the best of the castle:
Was the royal Tower so-called as it was one of the places were King Ferdinand II painted. It was a privilege view over the Palace of Pena.
History of the castle
Military fort built around the 10th century by the muslim population that occupied the Iberian peninsula.
It acted as a control tower for the Atlantic coast and land to the north, serving as an outpost for the city of Lisbon.
Two Different parts of the castle:
The reservoir was built using granite blocks from another construction. Some stonemason marks can be seen on the inside [12th.C].
The inside is accessed through a broken arch doorway [13.C]. There is no record of the water ever drying up. Legend says that there is a Moorish King buried underneath.
Founded in the 12th century, it functioned as a parish church until the 14th century. There are remains of mural paintings in the chancel. Nowadays, objects collected in the archaeological digs are exhibited, through witch the castle history can be relived.