Sintra, Portugal – Guest Post
by Ken MacAdams

Ken is a traveling man and uses Lumix gear during his travels. Ken shares his travel photography and stories here on Successful-Photographer as he has in the past. Ken’s camera of choice is Panasonic’s flagship stills camera the Lumix G9 with the Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT Professional Lens, 12-60MM, F2.8-4.0

Take it away Ken

Situated 30 miles from Lisbon is a fairy-tale village named Sintra. Driving up from Lisbon on heavily forested, narrow and very twisty roads, I was shocked when the vibrantly colored Pena Place burst into view!  I continued on to the quaint town of Sintra, where I’d reserved a villa, nestled in the cliffs, hundreds of feet below the palace.  I was told the villa was once the king’s stables.

pena palace portugal photoEntrance to the Pena Palace.  Built around the craggy rocks of the mountaintop, the palace has a commanding view of the surrounding area. All Photos in this post © Ken MacAdams

After a sumptious breakfast, I joined the parade of cars snaking up the mountainside to my first stop, the Palace of Pena.  Situated atop a rocky peak, the palace has a commanding view of the surrounding valleys.
The rear of the palace, with views stretching all the way to the North Atlantic Ocean, on the horizon.
In 1838 King Ferdinand II acquired the former Hieronymite monastery of Our Lady of Pena.  The original monastery buildings, consisting of the cloister and outbuildings, the chapel, the sacristy and the bell tower, were built in 1511.  These buildings today form the northern section of the Palace of Pena, and are referred to as the Old Palace.  King Ferdinand began making much needed repairs to the former monastery, and replaced the fourteen cells used by the monks with larger rooms with vaulted ceilings.  About 1843 the King decided to enlarge the palace, and built a new wing with even larger rooms.  This section is known as the New Palace.
In transforming the former monastery, the King was likely influenced and inspired by German romanticism found in the castles along the Rhine.  When building on the New Palace was completed about 1865, the King began planting gardens surrounding the palace.  With winding paths, stone benches, and pavilions at different points along its routes, the King copied the romantic gardens of that time.  He also planted over 500 different species of trees, and plants originating from different points around the globe.
kitchen in sintra photo
The one way tour circuit through the palace is self paced, generally ambling along at a relaxed speed.  You see both the Old and New Palace wings, visit the living quarters of the King, their eating area, day rooms, the Great Room, and end up exiting through the kitchen.  With original and period glassware, pottery, and furniture throughout the palace, you’ll have a chance to see how life was carried on by royalty of the 1800’s!  The Palace of Pena was designated a National Monument in 1910, and classified a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.
Ken has always loved to travel, so when he made a common connection with the fact that either a long day pounding the streets of some foreign city, or shooting the last dance at a wedding,  a good part of his physical ken macadams head shotweariness came from lugging around his big heavy DSLR. That’s when he started looking at alternatives – and ended up selecting Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds gear.
Ken is rarely without a camera, and the next great photo travel experience – whether local or abroad – is always in the back of his mind!  A longtime resident of the Four Corners, and when he’s not out on the road, he enjoys some of the great outdoor opportunities found there – mountain biking, hiking, and Jeeping.