Two blogs in three days?! You lucky buggers. I must be feeling generous.
For those of you who can’t be dealing with reading me prattle on again, don’t worry. This blog is going to be very photo-heavy. More of a cross between a gallery and a Wikipedia entry, actually. So read on, dear friends.
Yesterday we did a day trip to Sintra, which was so awesome I just had to jump on the internet and tell you all about it. We booked a transfer from the marina, and invited John and Sandra along for the day. Arriving into Sintra, it was obvious this was going to be a busy day: it was only 9:30 in the morning and already there were hoards of tourists walking around purposefully, map in hand. There was a good reason for our early start. There is so much to see and do in Sintra, you probably could do with a few days instead of just one. So we- well, Kelly and I- picked our top 3 and dragged everyone to the bus stop to await the designated tourist bus.
The first one that arrived was so full we couldn’t get on. Yes, it was to be that kind of day. We claimed our position at the front of the line and glared at anyone who looked as though they might give us some kind of challenge. Somewhere like the UK, I’d have faith that everyone would be orderly and wait quietly in their rightful place in the line. However, when you have French, Italian, Spanish, American tourists all getting excited at the prospect of their Big Day Out, well it can get a little tense. However, the next bus arrived without us being usurped, and we crammed ourselves on. We were off!
One winding bus ride later, we were deposited at the top of a hill. Not just any old hill. A hill with a castle and a palace on it! Our first stop was the Castle of the Moors, a 9th century castle constructed by the Moors. The hint’s in the name, you see. It assumes an awesome defensive position. There’s no way you could sneak up on this place: the view stretches for miles and miles, all the way to the coast of Portugal.
We wandered around here for an hour or so, almost getting blown off the ledge several times. High winds hindered our ability to take those flattering selfies we’d been hoping for.
Our next stop was the Pena Palace. This is a 19th century palace that is described as Romanesque Revival in regards to its architecture. I personally would describe it as totally bonkers. It looks like something out of a fairy tale, and while I can appreciate it for its gaudy grandeur, I can’t imagine living in it. Unlike so many palaces I visit, obviously…
Next was lunch. We got the bus back into town and found this sweet little restaurant just away from the main square. The food was awesome, although predictably expensive. It was decided that John, Sandra and Nick would head back to Oeiras after lunch, stopping at a big supermarket en route to do some provisioning, and Kelly and I would soldier on to the last attraction on our list, Quinta da Regaleira.
This place was awesome. Another palace, not nearly as over the top as Pena, sits proudly at the entrance, but this isn’t the main reason for visiting. The grounds are what inspired us to visit, and we weren’t disappointed. Wikipedia describes the grounds as ‘a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions.’ Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I’ll just let the photos do the talking.
Eventually, knackered and footsore, we walked back to the train station. No sooner than we sat down, a bus pulled up going straight to Oeiras station! This was the perfect end to an awesome day, because I’d thought the buses only ran to Lisbon or Cascais, and we’d have to train it from there. But no, we jumped on that bus and an hour later we were home.