We left the coast with the sun shining and headed to the mountains. This time we intended to visit the Bussaco National Forest. . Benedictine monks first established a hermitage in the midst of the forest in the 6th century. However it was the Carmelite monks who settled here in the 17th century that built the walls round the forest and introduced new varieties of trees from all over the world.
As we reached the mountains the weather started to change getting more and more grey and overcast. By the time we entered the forest it was raining and we discovered that the forest had been badly damaged by a storm in January 2013. We were able to visit the core of the forest the Royal Lodge which completed in 1907 as a summer retreat for the Portuguese monarchy. The lodge had been built on the site of the old Carmelite monastery. After exploring the central area we then followed one of the trails through the forest as by this time the rain had stopped. We could see the damage caused by the storm. There were some splendid specimens of red cedars and huge ferns. Unfortunately we were unable to enjoy the views from the look-outs because of the weather.
In the end we were all cold and Heather was not feeling too good and so decided we would head back to base. It would have been a beautiful place to visit if the sun was shining.