Showing posts from August, 2013

Up, up and above Sintra and Cascais!

When I think of visiting Sintra, I immediately think of walking & hiking, taking the horse & carriage, maybe even the old tram.  Recently however, I have seen Sintra in two very different ways: both from above.

The first was the Sintra Canopy, or the local zip-line.  13 stops, 11 zips and a draw bridge.
The trip starts between the entrances of Pena Palace and Moorish Castle, and then zig zags across the valley to the other end of the Moorish Castle. Fantastic views and a whole lot of fun!  I went with two other ladies and we were very well instructed.  Two of us had never done anything like this before.  Mind you, I don't go to the edge of a high balcony, and now I volunteered to stand on a 2x2 m platform 30 m above ground, feeling the tree on which the platform was suspended sway slightly in the wind.   But I felt safe all the time, well looked after.  There were two instructors with us all the time.  One in the front, one in the back.

 And while we were on the platform…

Gluten or lactose free? Vegetarian or Vegan? Some choices in Sintra!

Many of our guests are still surprised when they order their breakfast and we ask if they prefer gluten or lactose free products - or if they want tomato to substitute the ham when they say they are vegetarian.  This is not common in Portugal.  Though the Portuguese bread is fantastic and cheeses are really tasty, unfortunately many places in Portugal  fail to recognize that there are increasingly many people with a condition that prevents them from enjoying these things, and thus would like an alternative. We seem to make an exception here, offering both lactose free and gluten free products in our breakfasts.
There is a similar situation with vegetarian food - if you want anything other than a salad, know that the Portuguese do have excellent soups, and often even the coffee shops have a soup of the day option. Many places in town offer an omelet or a pasta as a vegetarian option, but not so many where you can safely order your food if you are a vegan (butter and knorr cubes may be…