Where the King Goes

Here we are on our last day of the cruises.  We dock in Lisbon.   We will be spending two days here taking a master Photography class workshop with Andy Mumford, an Englishman, who transplanted himself to Portugal almost twenty years ago.

We have chosen to travel by coach Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe.  Up to the XIV century this was considered the edge of the world.  From the beginning of time, waves have crashed on the 100 meter-high cliff.  A classical lighthouse overlooks the Atlantic and is still an important reference for maritime navigation.  I swear the wind here is so strong, one could jump from the cliff only to be lifted back again to the top.

Just a short drive away is Sintra the home of Pena Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  On a clean day, Pena Palace, the world’s best example of nineteenth-century Romantic architecture can be seen from Lisbon.

King Ferdinand brought the palace new life after a devastating earth quake.  It was opened to the public in 1910.  Now all can delight in walking through the beautiful landscaped greenery, a maze of bridges, grottoes, pergolas and fountains punctuated by the heady sight and scents of thousands of flowering plants.

This lush countryside has been captured by fog today.  The thick, white mist rolls over the tops of the pines and mansion rooftops.  We step into the curtain of mist and are enclosed by the mist as we ascent to the top.

There was a silver lining to this stormy wet afternoon.   We too, like the gentry of his time were following the route of the King.     If he wasn’t escaping the heat in Sintra, he was swimming in the bay of Cascais.

The scene unfolded just like the pages of a story book. large white, Fluffy stark white clouds dot the azure blue sky hanging  over an ocean painted the same starling blue.  This is a perfect afternoon on the Portuguese Riviera.   Little fishing boats bob on the water’s surface and gentle waves lap the sand.  Young and old alike in brightly colored swimsuits are splashing in the water.  We sit on the boardwalk, close our eyes and listen to a city at play.