Moors, royals, and—more pirates!
I, and Russell in her turn, found myself on the road to Cintra, where the Portuguese royal family lived, and the nobility’s castles sprang up like mushrooms.
(“…then loaded upon a fleet of decorative if rickety wooden carts and aimed at the hill under whose side Cintra sheltered.”)
Cintra itself is a highly decorative town, with tile work that makes the jaws drop.
However, Russell was not there for the sight-seeing. On the top of this hill are two structures that would attract the eye of any motion picture director. The riotously idiosyncratic royal palace of Pena—
proves a distraction, but the Moorish Castle proves ideal for their purpose: the views across the tree-covered hills and rich plain where the Atlantic and the Rio Teju come together—
are studded with palaces, and I have to say, I played with the idea of purchasing a small derelict palace fixing it up, maybe starting a writing colony…
…until I thought about the effort of putting the crumbling walls back upright.
Russell, of course, was more sensible, and given no such romantic cause to linger, merely doing her job and returning to Lisbon. Although as she left the Moorish Castle, she was as astonished as I was to spot, carved into its very rocks, this further indication that pirates were ruling both our lives: