Royal Palace and Monastery - Mafra Palace, Portugal

The palace and the facilities are used only as temporary residence when they came for hunting in the Tapada Hunting grounds nearby. The dining hall is simple and a little austere. The King's chamber situated in the North tower, has a Gondola bed made with Mahogany wood and matching side units are place on a slightly raised wooden platform.The portrait of King Joao VI looks down from the right side of the bed. One can a series of doors in alignment through the front part of the palace The Music room or the Yellow room as it is called because of the Yellow curtains,  upholstered chairs and seating in this room. A grand Piano sits grandly in the centre of this room, surrounded by several seating arrangements. Several painting and lithographs adorn the walls. You cannot help but love this room. It is pleasant, light and airy. Can imagine those attending piano recitals sitting around must have enjoyed the whole experience! A group of tiny tots were taken on a school field trip round the …

Basilica - Mafra Palace, Portugal

It is the first time I had seen marble stone of different colours being used in such luxury and intricate design for flooring, walls, and ceilings. Starting in the Vestibule (Galilee Porch)/ entrance verandah where statues of St. Sebastiao and others were commissioned from various Italian masters.  Though started construction 1717, to this day the Church is maintained very well. It is a pleasure to visit it. I felt a sense of calm and peace inside the church. If you happen to visit, please do spend some time in silence. Some places are for fun and enjoyment, and some are for pure experience and soak up the ambience. This is one such place.  The Church measures 63m. in length, 16.5m wide and 21m. high in the nave. Semi columns of fluted Corinthian style support the Barrel vaulted roof King D.Joao VI commissioned 6 Organs for the Basilica

Palacio Nacional da Mafra (National Palace of Mafra), Portugal

Jo and I made a day trip to Mafra from Ericiera, where we were based. We took a bus. The distance was around 10 km. 
The Palacio Nacional da Mafra dominates the town and from anywhere you will see the towers, the dome, or the front facade. The town grew around it. There is a huge square in the front of the palace, giving it the distance and space to appreciate the size, grandeur, and magnificence of the palace. I was awestruck!
The monument comprises of the Royal Palace, the Basilica, and the Convent / Monastery. it is 3 in 1. I have too many photographs to fit into one post, so this post gives details of the outside and some info. The next post shows the interiors.
The construction began in 1717 and completed in 1750The architect was Mr. Johann Friedrich Ludwig, a German master goldsmith, who trained as architect in ItalyBuilt with local marble of different shadesIn the style of Baroque and Italianised neo classical architectureThe palace complex occupies a vast area of 37,790 sq.m.  co…

'5min from Ericeira- you'll love it!' - Pedros' airbnb in Ericeira, Portugal

There were a bunch of school / college students at the Sintra railway station helping the tourists. How nice that is!!!! They were in their uniforms, very friendly, and highly intelligent too. We were impressed. And they gave us correct directions to Ericeira, ie. take the train till Portela de Sintra, and catch a Mafrense bus to Ericeira. We did just that, and reached safely.
Let me clarify at the outset: It is Pedro's airbnb. He manages the site and bookings etc. But the day to day running of the homestay is done by Jose and Lourdes, Pedro's parents. 
On reaching Ericeira, we telephoned Jose for directions, and he came in person to the bus station to pick us up. Wow, that was more than called for. 
When was it the last time that you arrived at a homestay and a board in front of the house, says "Welcome, Joachim"? That is Jo's feedback on our stay at Pedro's airbnb in Ericeira, Portugal. 
This eclectic easy chair in the front verandah awaits our entry. The stair…

Palacio Nacional da Pena or Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Since we spent half a day at Monserrate park and palace, we had only a few hours left before we started on our onward journey. We had to make the chose of which one to visit. Out of all the tourist attractions left to visit, we chose Pena Palace. 
Believe me, it is a fairy tale place. All the stories you would have read as a child in which castles are there and their description matches this castle 100%. Though as a child you would not have visualized on such a grand scale!!!
One can see the tops of the castle from a long way, and the excitement builds up. You lose it as you take a turning and there it appears again... For lack of time we had to miss the cloisters, the queen's terrace, , the chapel etc. The above photographs from the brochure given at the entrance.  It is a beautiful climb up to the castle. The retaining walls to the castle are still in good condition and well maintained. The Park and the Palace are beautifully intertwined , the natural and the man made. Looking at …