Autumn has arrived and weather in Lisbon literally changed overnight! Instead of the hot blazing sun, I was greeted by rainfall for the past week. It is now time for indoor-centric activities. Hence, Querido and I decided to visit the Palácio Nacional de Mafra over the weekend.
Mafra is about 40km northwest of Lisbon. It was cloudy when we arrived, which explained why the colours in the photo did not turn out as vibrant as before (ie. compared to my summer shots). Our first stop was the Basilica of our Lady and St. Anthony of Mafra. This Basilica houses the first octagonal dome ever built in Portugal and is also unique because it has 6 sets of organs. Querido and I were lucky to witness a wedding ceremony when we were there. Only 1 organ was in use and the “surround” sound effect was already amazing. Imagine when all 6 organs are playing!
Palácio Nacional de Mafra must be one of the largest palaces ever. According to records, King João V (1689-1750) vowed to construct this monumental baroque construction if he was blessed with an heir. With the birth of his daughter, he simply splurged on this holiday residence for the royal family. Now, only a small section of the palace is open to public, but even so, Querido and I already took around 2 hours to tour the place!
The highlight for us was the Library. I could imagine why a historian would consider this a national treasure! Before going to Mafra, I read that there are some small bats which inhabit the library (as part of conservation) and feed on books-eating insects. To my disappointment, I didn’t see any, though Querido confirmed with the staff that the bats really exist! They are nocturnal though…
After which, we took a short drive to Ericeira. I am glad that we did as the huge waves and sandstone cliffs were scenic Ericeira is supposedly a heaven for surfers but due to the weather, no surfer dudes or babes were there. In fact, we were stranded at a cafe in the midst of our coastal walk due to a sudden downpour.