Monday, August 6, 2018

Sintra and Guimarães

7/13/18 Pena Palace, Sintra

Our Portugal travels included the three main cities of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra (coming up soon). In addition, we also made a couple of day trips – one to Sintra from Lisbon, and one to Guimarães from Porto.

Sintra is known for its well-preserved and restored castle and palaces – the Moorish castle, Pena palace and Sintra palace. After an easy train ride from Lisbon, we bought a convenient bus pass in town that took us to all three heavily touristed sites.

Despite the bus ride, getting to the Moorish and Pena sites still required substantial hiking and therefore time. My only regret in Sintra was that we stopped first at the Moorish Castle and stayed a bit too long. By the time we arrived at the far more interesting and colorful Pena Palace, we were low on time and energy and didn’t get to see as much of Pena’s interior as we would have liked. Sintra Castle, too, received only a cursory glance (and an unenthusiastic, unfinished sketch). But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about travel sketching (and travel in general), it’s that it’s impossible to see everything, and even more impossible to sketch everything. We always have to make choices.
7/13/18 Moorish Castle, Sintra

Pena Palace, Sintra

Pena Palace

On our last day in Porto, we took a day trip to Guimarães, and this time Suzanne and Jane joined us. Inland compared to Porto, Guimarães was much hotter, which was a sketching challenge for me. In retrospect, I think I would have preferred another day in cooler Porto instead (and certainly there’s no end to sketchable scenes there).

7/22/18 Guimaraes
Still, Guimarães has its own charms, including a quiet ambiance and an amazing Gothic cathedral with a café right outside of it – and a wedding inside! Trying to show the church and its adjacent café in the same composition, but standing too close because I wanted to stay in the shade, I ended up with the most ridiculous composition that shows none of it well!

7/22/18 Guimaraes
Chastised by that experience, I stuck with small thumbnails and detail insets of the massive Guimarães Castelo structure, where we all battled heat and ants in the grass while we sketched. It was a relief to relax afterwards with a snack under a shady umbrella.

Guimaraes Castelo

7/22/18 Cooling off at a cafe (not too bad of a sketch of Jane, right? ;-))

Mini sketchcrawl with Suzanne and Jane

Guimaraes town square

A wedding was ongoing inside as I sketched.
Guimaraes Castle

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