Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
“The Monastery of Our Lady of Pena was built between 1503 and 1511. It stands out with Moorish art, Spanish and Arabic Tiles, and Portuguese architecture of the early 16th century, which brought together elements of the Gothic with the novelties of the Renaissance.”
I read the sign as Eric and I patiently in line for entrance to the Pena Palace, one of the finest tourist attractions in Portugal. The interior of the Palace had been restored to reflect the decor of 1910, when the Portuguese nobility fled to Brazil to escape the revolution. The time was 12:20 and our admittance tickets read 12, so we merged our way up the long corridor to the guard who informed us we had to wait in line no matter what time our tickets read. I discovered that Mondays are the worst day to visit as Lisbon’s museums are closed and most visitors then make the trek to Sintra. I also discovered Thursdays are the least traffic and any day it’s best to arrive late afternoon. As Eric and I made our way back down and through the long winding crowd, I saw the woman we were originally standing behind making progress to the entry. “Oh, hey- remember us?” I said happily, not desiring to head back to the ever expanding flock. She had been taking continually selfies and I was certain our faces were in her photo album. She looked at me and in perfect English shouted, “I don’t know you and I don’t speak English!” The kind lady now standing behind her in our place however did recognize us and let us re-take our previous position, saving us at least an hour of additional wait time.
I hoped the one who claimed she didn’t remember us and didn’t understand English understood when I said loudly that she favored the mythical gargoyle which guarded the entrance.
Well, the heat and wait was worth it. Eric and I always make a point to visit museums on our trips. In previous blogs, I have shared our visit to The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889. I’ve shared our trips to historical Plantations in Tennessee and castles in Kotor, Montenegro. Time and again, I can only marvel at the intensity of the craftsmanship, grandiose staterooms, and decor. It’s mind boggling imagining the artistry. In Pena Palace, I asked one guard why the beds were so tiny assuming that the people were small in stature. He explained people of that era believed sleeping laying down was only for the dead, so they slept sitting up.
Gary, our dear friend and now local Portuguese resident and the best tour guide ever met us at our designated spot, and we all toured The Monserrate Palace. The history of Monserrate starts out in 1540, the point in time when Friar Gaspar Preto ordered the construction of a hermitage here dedicated to Our Lady of Monserrate. Again, the landscapes, architecture, and design were breathtaking.