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May 24, 2016

Sintra

This week, I'm posting up the photos of my time in Portugal in January.

Sintra is a town we visited as a day trip from Lisbon. It's classified as a UNESCO world heritage site for its architecture. It's also where "that well everyone takes a picture of" is, and after seeing Anouk's post I was really keen to go.




Our first stop was Quinta de Regeleira, an estate where the aforementioned well is. I didn't know much else about it, but it was looking promising as we walked towards it...



The land was bought by a rich guy in the 1890s, who built the palace and commissioned the garden, filled with various symbolism and imagery he was interested in, including Masonry and the Knights Templar.




The garden is amazing. It's all overgrown and filled with moss covered ornaments and buildings. There are secret tunnels linking grottoes and two wells, and paths and staircases you might miss if you're not looking.


The initiation well. Not a well for water, but apparently secretive initiation rites, and its design has something to do with Tarot.





I was digging the aesthetic so hard.



Another look at the well, from above.





I think the overcast and foggy weather really added to the atmosphere.



Leda's grotto.


You can walk across these stepping stones into the tunnels system.




The chapel.


The house itself.


We ended up spending way longer here than we expected to, because we loved it so much. I think it's one of my favourite places in the world now. One day I'll be so rich I'll build a garden like this one and a house crammed with cool stuff (like in Sir John Soane's Museum).


We realised that we were running short on time, so we quickly went back into town.


The famous pastries you can get here.


We took the shuttle up to Pena National Palace. We just bought a ticket for the grounds since the interior didn't sound too interesting.



It was kind of hilarious. It was absolutely deserted, so foggy we could barely see more than 100m in front of us, and really, really hilly.


Kind of felt like some sort of fairytale nightmare.



We kept getting lost.


When we finally found the (Lego-looking) palace, we were so tired we were almost hysterical. By that time, it was the end of the day so we caught the bus back to the station and left for Lisbon.

Kind of wish we'd stayed here overnight for another day. We didn't see a lot of other attractions or the town itself, because we'd spent so much time at Quinta de Regeleira (no regrets though). So would 100% recommend going to Sintra! Logistics wise, the town and attractions aren't really walkable. There's shuttle bus loop you can take between the train station, town, Pena Palace and other sites. Quinta de Regeleira is walkable from the town.

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