Category Archives: Sintra

Falling down the rabbit hole (part II of Sintra)

As I promised, there’s still half a day left in Sintra to explain. This part is dedicated to Regaleira. Quinta da Regaleira is an old estate. There are many large estates from old rich families in Sintra, handed down and now unable to be taken care of. A very rich and “romantic” (we’ll say) man bought and redid this property about 140 years ago- now owned by the government and open to the public.

In the center of Sintra we got lunch and got lost on what would really be a 15 minute walk. The sidewalks are sketchy- small, wobbly, and sometimes nonexistent. We really had 0 idea what to expect either… After a sharp bend the first thing we came upon was this…

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Excited we hurried down the street to find the entrance, and this.

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We started with the main house. The first floor had the old rooms, ornate and little furniture. The wooden ceilings may have been the most elaborate wood carvings I’ve ever seen (pictures are blurry- I apologize). After that the next 2 floors were filled with rooms of designs of the estate.

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That last picture is the library- all real books. The lighting is harsh. But on the floor around the base was a mirror. Everything so exact I had to get on the floor and check with my hand the books wouldn’t go on forever and I wouldn’t actually fall down the rabbit (book) hole. We didn’t spend long in the house- other than the fact that it’s about 30 rooms it is nothing compared to the grounds (again, seriously everything I show was just the “main house” and main house area).

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We started with the “Green House”. (Seriously we are playing Clue- it becomes even more obvious as time goes.)

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Then Leda’s Grotto. Personally, I think this is where he stuck his daughter (Leda?) and Repunzel came from.

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Then, Regaleira Tower… Where I pretended to be Rapunzel. Unfortunately, my hair just won’t cut it.

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Finally came the real rabbit hole…

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Between the rocks there was a “Scooby Doo” door. It was a slab of rock that when touched at the exact right spot, and only there, could you turn it (nonetheless with your pinky finger). Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes of trying we gave up fruitless.

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Once inside, the “initiation well” appears.

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Apparently this rich guy built the well to use as an initiation for a “gentleman’s club” but I mean he was so rich he probably just forced initiation pranks on his friends. (I wouldn’t have minded this kind of hazing instead of the modern day crap kids do) He also said it was like heaven and hell and the tunnel and it’s 7 floors like dante’s inferno until you get a layer with gods (something something something…). And at the bottom are passageways. To every feature of the property, including the house, there is an underground passageway (which is far across the entire estate). Go back and look at all the statues I posted pictures of… Behind them were tunnels’ entrances/exits.

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Only two pathways were lit, but we explored a little more of the others. At one point we found ourselves behind a waterfall (“Lake of the Waterfall”).

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We later found the same waterfall from the front. There were rocks at perfect water level, it was all built like a dream.

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Back into the tunnel, we came out again and this time out of some random holes in rocks. We came out by what was titled “The Aquarium”. We couldn’t really figure out what was going on and only found this rock with holes in it and some glass…

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We found the “entrance”. It just led around a little C-shape into the rocks. Since this part hadn’t been kept up with it wasn’t meant for visitors so it wasn’t lit up. It was incredibly creepy. And some light got in through the glass and made this eerie glow from the moss and algae inside the tank.

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I was ready for a body to appear inside, Resident Evil style.

From there we just walked down towards the exit, passing Fountain of Regaleira, Labrynth Grotto, and Balnaerium Fountain.

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My pictures don’t bring this place any kind of justice. On our way back to the Addam’s family home, the perfect murder Clue house, and every child’s dream hide and seek location we walked along the “Promenade of the Gods”. Goodbye to what is and may be for quite some time the coolest estate I’ve ever seen.

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Lost in Wonderland

I went to Sintra, Portugal for the day… What might actually be the coolest place I’ve ever been. I’m going to break the day into two posts because I’m just so excited and have so much to say about what is a real wonderland.

Let’s see, transportation was almost too easy. They have an Oyster card like system so we hopped on a train (every 15 minutes, literally at the station when we arrived) for €4 (like $5). The trip was 45 minutes and we got a cab at the station for €7 ($8.75, and literally the only money you need to spend bc it’s all downhill from there) to the very top of the most magical castle……. Palacio da Pena.

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We started with the exterior of the palace and skipped purchasing the extra ticket actually into the palace.

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As you can see it’s the highest point in the area. Not far from it is an old Moorish castle. We decided to skip going in (heard it’s not worth it) and just explored the outside on our walk to town. But you can also see a good shot of it from the palace. It kind of blends in with the greenery but I got the best shot I could.

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As amazing as the castle was, I’m not even sure if I could call it the best part. Around the palace were acres and acres of woods, gardens, and paths. It was incredible. We didn’t quite see all of it because it literally would’ve taken a day, but hit the highlights. Also, the maps are a little rough so we were lost/exploring stumbling upon most of this…

we first hit the temple of columns:

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That was on our walk up to the Cruz Alta.

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It was the highest point across from it and you had to stand on unsteady rocks taking in the world. Next were the Fountain of the Preta and Fountain of the Small Birds.

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It was densely wooded along the way with wonderful fountains and other chapels.

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Last was the Valley of the Lakes and the Duck Houses.

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From there we walked around the Moorish Castle stated earlier above into town and saw some of the remains and more amazing views. And because Pena is at the top, literally everything is downhill and close from there.

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Last but not least, once in the town, there was of course the evil witch’s house I have to add…

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Oh and the Sintra National Palace….. But it was just lame after everything else. We simply walked by.

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