Marvellous Malaga market

It feels only five minutes since we were last mooching around the colourful central market in Malaga but its actually been years!

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The time our apartment is literally around the corner so we can get up bright and early to check out this lively scene.

No matter how many times I visit markets in Europe and further afield I never fail to be captivated by the variety and quality of products on offer.

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Whether its dried fruit and nuts, local cheeses or piles of perfect fruit and veg, its all so fresh and tempting.

Apart from this. This will never be tempting! I always force myself to venture down the meat aisle just to check out which unfortunate body parts are on display!

A stall holder peers over his loaded stall of local sausages, wines and other delicacies.

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A fishmonger demonstrates his descaling skills while once again I ponder the reason behind the orange vats of fatty meat!

Huge radishes glisten in stacks of glorious pink globes while spring onions the size of fists jostle for space with huge juicy tomatoes.

A last lingering look at some stacks of nuts now before we head off to find more photo subjects!

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Fairytale Sintra

Finally we arrive at the town that inspired the entire trip – Sintra! Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments.

One of the most eyecatching is the Pena Palace, perched high above the town it is a Disneyesque riot of colour and architectural quirks.

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We visited on a perfect sunny day, the blue of the sky contrastingly stunningly with the child’s paintbox colour of the palace.

The palace is a national monument and is one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world.

The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and unsurprisingly is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

The palace had humble beginnings, starting as a small chapel it then became a monastery before being reduced to ruins.

In 1838, King consort Ferdinand II, he decided to acquire the ruins, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors and a few other estates in the area.

He then set out to turn the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

The commission for the Romantic style rebuilding was given to Lieutenant-General and mining engineer Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege.

The palace really is an architectural and photographic dreams. It has a wild mix of styles in line with the exotic taste of  Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.

References to other prominent Portuguese buildings such as the Belém Tower are also present.

The construction took place between 1842–1854.King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II had quite a few opinions of their own on matters of decoration and symbolism.

Among others, the King suggested vault arches, Medieval and Islamic elements be included in the sprawling, epic design.

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Over time the colours of the red and yellow façades faded, and for many years the palace became entirely grey.

But thankfully at  the end of the 20th century the palace was repainted and the original vivid colours restored.

In 1995, the palace and the rest of the Cultural Landscape of Sintra were classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Lots more photos to come!

Lisbon colours and corners

Lisbon is alive with colour, blink and you miss it details and delights around every corner.

It’s also famous for its cute little trams that whizz up and down the steep cobbled streets. Two not to miss are number 28 that takes you winding through the old Alfama district and over blood curdling hills.

The other is number 15, a new tram that takes you all the way out to Belem where many architectural delights away you (more of that later)

Modern street art can be found all around the city. Here’s a multicoloured example.

Sacred heart tiles are ones I have never encountered before!

Again I’m delighted by the multitude of religiously themed tiles, coloured walls and window ledge gardens.

Lot’s more colourful details to follow!