Showing posts from November, 2012

Chalet Biester - the film set for Johnny Depp's 'Ninth Gate'

Just a bit above the village, in our view, there is a mansion called Chalet Biester.  Its black roof with turquoise trimming causes a lot of questions and awakes the curiosity of many Sintra visitors.  No, it cannot be visited; yes, it is a private house.  No, I don't know who lives there now; yes, it is where the Roman Polanski  thriller 'The Ninth Gate' was filmed, starring Johnny Depp.  There and a bit of everywhere in Sintra.

Ernesto Biester, a Portuguese journalist and playwright of German origin, famous in his time,  ordered this mansion to be built in around 1880 from the architect José Luis Monteiro.  Its interior was conceived by the famous Italian that worked on Quinta da Regaleira, also in Sintra, and the sceneries of La Scala Opera in Milano, and theater São Carlos in Lisbon: Luigi Manini - and the sculpture Leandro Braga.  Biester asked Monteiro to use the English style  called 'Queen Ann' style, a mixture of Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romantic. The result is …

Walking and Hiking

Sintra is perfect for walking; spring, summer, fall and winter.  Take it from me, I usually take at least an hour's walk 5-6 times a week in the mornings, every season.  When I can, I take longer walks, and most often I am accompanied by my  now two-year old Great Dane Pandora.  Dog or not, the roads and mountain paths are safe.  I just like to walk with her to have company and someone to talk to!

I will be writing in this post very generally, intending to write more in detail later about some of the paths, with more pictures.  Just hoping that this will inspire you whilst planning!  Some general information first.

The first important point:  we are on the Sintra mountain.  There is very little straight to walk.  In addition to lots of curves, it is hilly.   In some cases lots of steps and even climbing.   Second point, there are not very good detailed maps easily available.  Yet, the paths are usually quite well marked.  And the locator of the iPhone seems to always be helpful in…