The palace of Mafra lies a little north of Sintra. Frequently described as a smaller Versailles, it was built in celebration of the birth of King João V's daughter in magnificent baroque style. Holding the title of the largest structure built in Europe in the the 18th century it almost bankrupted the country in the process. It was all worth it though. Exquisitely crafted from pastel pink, blue, and creamy marble from the surrounding countryside under direction from Italian artists, it is breathtaking. I'm not sure what else I can say. We toured through the palace where we saw monks' living quarters, the hospital ward, dining rooms, gaming rooms, ode-to-hunting rooms, and the massive library holding 35,000 books, many of significant historical value, including original books by the famous and dearly loved Portugeuse poet, Camoés . A few books were on display including a dragon identification book from the 1400's. It might not get cooler than that. Then we exited the palace and entered the basilica with its massive marble dome, six immense organs, and more carvings than I can recount. It literally took my breath away time after time.
After we felt we had sufficiently viewed everything at Mafra, we headed to Ereceira, a lovely seaside village and surfing mecca. We wandered through Greek-style streets between houses of white with blue accents before taking a walk along the bluff that overlooks the pounding waves of the ocean. We perched ourselves upon some rocks to watch the huge waves roll in and crash against the rock. It didn't take long for one of the waves to find and soak us. With the sun setting, dripping with sea water, we climbed back into our taxi happy and satisfied for the foggy-window ride back to Sintra.
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