It’s Good to be Queen!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

(A post by guest author – Janet)

After a short night’s sleep, we arise eager to resume our exploration of Lisbon, even if by guide book.
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The Zuza Bed hosts have put out a sumptuous spread and also make eggs to order.

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No time to linger, though.  We have reserved a guide today to provide local color commentary for our exploration of Sintra and beyond.  In the mid-1800s, King Don Fernando II and Queen Dona Maria II embarked on construction of a “New Palace” to be used as a summer home in Sintra.  Other nobility quickly followed suit and the area became a resort of the rich and famous.  The “New Palace” was named “The Palace of Pena“, and was a place of relaxation and entertainment for the royal family.

Arriving guests were treated to an amazing sight . . . Disney must have borrowed some of the concepts!

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Her Royal Highness (Janet) addresses her loyal subjects
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while Her Majesty (Janel) surveys her kingdom
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Triton (half man, half fish) represents the allegorical gateway of the Creation.
Other "critters" adorn many of the outdoor spaces.
Other “critters” adorn many of the outdoor spaces.

The turrets are simply irrestible.

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We imagine the queen having to constantly reprimand the young royals:

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“Get OUT of the turrets!”

The inside of the palace is beautiful but we remark that it is not as opulent as we thought it would be.  Then we went to the Queen’s chambers . . .

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It definitely IS good to be Queen! And the SHL enjoyed the royal treatment.

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We finally tore ourselves away from the “New Palace” after a couple hours and reunited with Filippe, our tour guide.  He took us into the center of Sintra with the promise of a special Sintra pastry.   We stop at a small bakery and enjoy the “Sintra Pillow“.

(Note Fillipe in the mirror taking our photo)
(Note Fillipe in the mirror taking our photo)

After our sugar fix, we traipsed into a tiny gourmet shop where the proprietor let us sample typical Portugese delicacies (cheeses, jams, chorizo, ginjahn in a chocolate cup) and then gave us a brief education on the finer points of port.
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Alas, another palace awaits, and off we go to Quinta da Regaleira, affectionately known as “The Crazy Palace”.  Carvalho Monteiro conceived the idea for a summer home and collaborated with artichitect Luigi Manini to create his paradise.  Designs were undertaken consecutively with construction, and many ideas were initiated but never completed . . . hence the nickname.

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The last line of the informational poster sums this palace up quite well . . .

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Our glimpse into the minds of two crazy men inspires us to be a little silly also.

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Enough with the palaces . . . it’s time for lunch!  We drive away from the touristy area to a place our guide frequents and arrive at a quaint restaurant that is advertising wild boar (javelina) stew.  Why yes, I do believe we will have some (along with a beautiful mixed grilled fish plate and a taste of Fillipe’s Seafood Rice)!

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Our bellies sated for the moment, we hop back in the car for a brief ride into Cascais, a truly beautiful seaside town.

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Driving along the coast through Cascais is beautiful, with waves crashing along the rocky shore.  We attempted to get a photo of the huge water sprays that were created but couldn’t quite get the timing right.  It will stay in our memories alone.

We’re exhausted and quietly return to Zuza Bed for a brief rest before our dinner reservations.  Tonight we’re planning to have a light supper at the teeny restaurant Cantinho Lusitano, a wine and tapas place.  We’ve read the rave reviews about the pica-pau (marinated strips of beef in a special sauce), but alas they are unavailable!

Forced to adjust our taste buds, we start with a plate of goat cheese with honey and rosemary.

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A plate of cod cakes served with a side of rice and beans appears next, but it is photographically challenged.

Finally, the dish we’ve all been waiting for . . .

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IMG_3533Chicken Gizzards!  These gizzards were magically delicious.  Soft and tender, a bit of a gravy that was perfect for rooming bread, yummy!

We’ve had a long full day, and we decide to head back to the B&B to turn in early.  Even queens have to get their beauty rest!

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2 thoughts on “It’s Good to be Queen!

  1. Oh what a beautiful day you three SHL’s had. The palaces were just awesome. It’s too bad you had no pica-pau; but your dinner choices looked wonderful.

  2. Get in the car, and out of the turrets. You all do get around.
    The 2nd photo of the crazy palace, the one with the palm-like tree, ought to be in a magazine. Cudos to the photographer.
    And I concur, those chicken gizzards look like the real deal, screaming for crusty bread.

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