Sintra is a touristy town with narrow, winding cobblestone paths marked by cafes, restaurants and shops offering their wares, mainly tablecloths and liqueurs. We spent most of our free time and money there in one of the shops specializing in the latter, where we picked up several "souvenirs" for folks back home.
We also did some geocaching in the town's centre, depositing a travel bug we had picked up in a Toronto cache earlier this year in a "hole in the wall" next to the Tivoli restaurant in downtown Sintra, and fighting with some man-eating vines to uncover a cache in front of a private villa nearby.
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The Portuguese people's more laid-back aproach to life in general is reflected -- among other ways -- in their lack of "to go" containers: Few shops offer "to go" containers, as people here don't generally eat on the run, but rather, seem to enjoy lengthy meals, followed by one (or several) glasses of port, and much good conversation. We, on the other hand, had to get back to the bus, so we searched desperately for a place that had tea or coffee to go. One cafe near the bus terminal offered to wrap up our Queijadas (a Portuguese cheecake tart made famous in Sintra) to take away, and gave us our hot beverages in a wax-lined Pepsi cup!
So, off to the bus we ran, cheescakes and tea in on hand, bags of cherry wine, chestnut liquor and port in the other, trying not to spill our waxy Pepsi-cup tea, as they had no lids...
Next we visited the Pena Palace, a large estate with obvious Moorish influence and too many tourists crowding into its various rooms. This was followed by a fairly average lunch. During our meal, I enjoyed some conversation with a Brazilian mother and daughter, and two sisters, one from Hawaii, the other from Spain.
After lunch, it was on to Cape Rock, the westernmost tip of Europe, or, as the poet Camois wrote, "where the land ends, and the sea begins". The mighty ocean's powerful, repeated assault on the shore and any rock that stood in its way offered an impressive sight indeed, and caused me to think longingly of PEI (only 6 more months).
The areas we visited today were considerably greener than Lisbon; a great variety of trees and other plant life covered the many hills and mountains our bus drove through.
Once back in the urban centre, the bus dropped us off at a square near our hotel, and we saw some skateboarders working their magic on the steps outside the roofless church I wrote about in a previous blog post.
We resolved to eat our final meal at a restaurant that serves Bacalhau, the traditional Portuguese codfish, which my girlfriend had been wanting to try all week. Salgadeiras, a restaurant not too far from our hotel, offered the perfect ambience and menu, so off we went for our last supper in Lisbon.