After just a forty-five minute early morning drive we made our first stop in the city of Sintra, Portugal.  This is the city where the last palace of Portugal was in use. The Palacio Nacional de Sintra dates to the fourteen century and it was last used for governmental purposes in the 1940’s.  Marti and I took the grand tour of the palace and it was very impressive to me.  It seemed that one of the Kings of Portugal so enjoyed birds that each room had different birds painted on the ceilings.  The rooms soon took on the names of the birds painted on the ceilings.  In a room that was occupied by the courts ladies in waiting the King had Magpies painted on the ceiling.  This was the Kings effort at making fun of the ladies in waiting.  The King felt that just as the Magpies were always wagging their tongues so were the ladies.  I stood inside a fireplace that was so large that it was taller than me and was way wider.

There were masks of animals that were used for parties.  The workmanship was excellent as was the painting.  My favorite place was the palace kitchen.  I was amazed that the kitchen had a device installed in the 1400’s that acted like a crude type of oven for baking.  It was about 12 feet high and 15 feet wide with multiple doors.  It had pots that were so large you could boil a goat inside.  There were racks, some small, some medium, and of course one very large.  You could cook small birds, pigs, and large steers on the racks.  The main surprise was that this kitchen was completely heated by burning wood.  Another surprise was that the ceiling was cone shaped so that the smoke from the fire could escape but just a little rain would enter the kitchen.  The opening in the ceiling was designed such that the rain would not fall on any of the wood fires.  I would have loved to cook inside that kitchen.

 

As always, the gardens of the palace were beautiful and the design of the rooms met the needs of those who used the palace.  I looked and looked but I did not see any toilets in the palace.  Did the king need to leave the palace to answer the call of nature?  What about the Queen.  Did she have to leave the palace also?  I then wondered if they used anything like toilet paper.  How did they clean themselves?  The tour was over and I was too afraid to ask, so I will never know.  It was time to depart the cute city of Sintra and head to another city.  Net on our list for the day was the lovely city of Obidos.

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