I am so sorry for being MIA!
I woke up this morning and only then realized that I haven’t posted anything in 4 days!!
I had partied hard the night before at the Gspot hostel (where you must stay if you are under 30 and enjoy meeting people, making friends, partying and comfy double-beds), and even though I had tentative plans to go to Lagos I decided to stay and read at the hostel. Then, Henry from L.A. said ‘Are you ready to go to Sintra?’ I completely forgot we made plans! So, 2 minutes later we were on our way. Jochen from Germany saw us too in our way out and he joined!
A 15 minute walk to Rossio Square and train station and a 4.60 euro round-trip ticket was all it took (and a Starbucks for me) to be on our way to Sintra.
So, what is Sintra? A mountain, lots of walking (dress appropriately), castles, palaces and hidden caves in magical gardens.
We paid 5 euro for an all day ticket on the bus circuit to take us up the hill (totally worth it because, silly me, I was wearing a dress and flip flops).
Castelo dos Mouros is a medieval hilltop Castle which reminded me of Game of Thrones (series I’m currently reading, don’t judge). The views were amazing! Cities and towns looked like Lego below, and the blue ocean looked a stones-throw away from this height.
The Castle offered amazing views from the top of the wall, and we spent a good amount of time in awe just admiring the view. Above is a (horrible) picture of the Palace of Pena.
We opted not to enter the Palace (13 euro entry) as the Castle costs 7 euro and we were saving our pennies for our next destination: Quinta da Regaleira (the Estate of Regaleira).
Being at the Estate you feel as though you’ve been transported back-in-time and into a fantasy world.
The Palace itself (above) had amazing architecture and if that interests you there is a ton of information about the architect himself: Luigi Manini.
The library pictured above had a mirror perimeter on the floor. At first, you think it’s glass but only when you look down do you see yourself and realize it’s a mirror. It made it look as though the books went on forever down into the first floor.
The gardens were the real magic though. There are grottoes, caves, tunnels, beautiful trees, large chapels, statues and pathways that remind you of being in a fantasy game.
This was my favourite part: entering through the Portal of the Guardians (pictured below) you walk through dark caves (bring a flash-light) and end up in the bottom of the Initiatic Well, 27 meters below ground!
We finished our day-trip by tasting the famous Ginja: a sour cherry liqueur from the area. It came in an edible chocolate shot-cup!