Morning came fast and bright and all that magical wine from last night wasn’t feeling so magical. But, there was zero time for hangovers in Portugal, especially when we were planning on getting to the Quinta da Regaleira before the mobs of people Showed up. But first, coffee and pastries at Georgios – how are Europeans not 400 pounds?! These sweets and breads and cakes would do me in for sure….although I think the key here is to walk everywhere. Sunday morning was sleepier around town as well – we walked in around 9:15 am and only a few older people were there.
Feeling slightly revived, we headed through town, up the hill and into Quinta da Regaleira. By far one of the most eclectic, mysterious, intriguing places I’ve ever been, this palace had extensive gardens with hidden nooks and crannies at every turn.
Paths that would lead you underground, swirling spiral staircases that plunged you deeper into the earth, tunnels that lead to lagoons and grottos, and a series of paths that would pop you out several hundred feet away from where you had been. A mysterious playground of mystical twists and turns.
There were several sections where claustrophobia almost set in….tight caves with narrow walls and lots of people. Luckily, the line to cross the lagoon on mere stepping stones moved fast and we popped out soon enough.
Traveling during the off season is how we usually plan international vacations (having been to Ireland, Amalfi Coast, Costa Rica, Vieques in October or November). I could not imagine the lines in the high season of summer. Regardless, this place can not be described accurately enough to give it justice!
The grounds were extensive and we spent almost three hours poking our heads into every nook, every tunnel, every grotto. It was truly a special place.
After a spectacular few hours, we had seen and explored it all, so decided to walk to Monserrate, another palace with extensive gardens and beautiful interior. Little did we know, it was almost two miles away – not uber far, but we had already walked almost 8 miles that day alone. Well, that’s how we do it, so here we went. Luckily, there’s not a ton of traffic and the weather held (looked as if it was going to down pour there for a minute!). We made it and after paying the 8 Euro per piece, we’re glad we came.
Created by Sir Francis Cook, the gorgeous palace consisted of two stories, ornate entryways and arches, a glowing purple ceiling, and beautiful fireplaces. The palace was magnificent, full of architecture wonder.
Looking down from the second floor, you can see the intricate tile and fountain in the entryway – while looking up gives you the glowing purple view.
As as gorgeous as the palace and grounds were, we knew we’d have a two mile walk back to town and we’re getting quite hungry. Contemplating the bus, where the ideal states would be to rest and zone out while we got chauffeured back to town…..but that wouldn’t be our style. So, we walked the two plus miles back into town to have a well deserved, albeit expensive, lunch. It was in the heart of town, so we paid for the views and ambiance. Ok by us!
The he way home brought us past a street artist, so we stopped to chat and buy a piece of art (the only souvenir I like to bring home with me) and we even got to see him finish and sign our custome piece. For only 10 Euro, this was a steal!
We put our feet up for a bit, the found a vegan restaurant, the only one in Sintra, and had a lovely plant based meal. Our time in Sintra had been well spent – we would be off to Odeceixe in the morning.