June 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
When the Portuguese kings and queens stayed at the Mafra Palace, they enjoyed hunting at a local game reserve called Tapada de Mafra. The Tapada is now a national park that offers many fun activities for kids. There are train rides, donkey rides, archery lessons, and falconry demonstrations. You can see deer, wild boar, foxes, and other animals in their natural habitat.
Our favorite activity at Tapada is taking horse-ridding lessons. A 30-minute lesson costs only 5 euros. But riding an elegant horse in the beautiful Tapada grounds, always makes us feel like royalty.
Click here for the Tapada’s web site. Mafra is an easy 40 km drive from Lisbon on the A8 highway. Horse-ridding lessons are offered between 9:30 am and 12:00 pm. It is a good idea to call in advance to make reservations (Tel. 261 81 4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Every morning King D. João V looked in the mirror and told his reflection: you’re magnificent! There was only one cloud in his life: he did not have an heir to the throne. So, he promised that, if Queen D. Maria Ana got pregnant, he would build a magnificent monastery. That is, according to legend, how the Mafra Palace came to be built. Financed with gold from Brazil, it features sumptuous accommodations for the king and queen, a magnificent Basilica with six pipe organs, and an enormous library. This library has been preserved by a colony of bats that prey on the insects that would otherwise devour the book pages. It is well worth it to visit this 18th century palace built by a vain Portuguese king for an austere Austrian queen, guarded by Franciscan monks and their learned bats.