Once we finally got up, the day started perfectly. This tart is 90% custard and 10% crust. Absolutely delicious.
We decided to spend the day at the Palacio de Monserrat. This palace is the traditional summer resort of the Portuguese court, built in 1858 for Sir Francis Cook. Even though it was under restoration it still looked beautiful (no photography was allowed inside). The gardens were gorgeous and included many elements from around the world.
Arch of India
We took this day a little slower than usual, which was a nice change, especially as we were just starting our trip.
From Lisbon we caught a bus to Sintra and had a great couple of days. It was beautiful! Lots of castles and few tourists make it a great destination in my opinion.
All along the streets you could find little enclaves like this one, which usually included a waterfall or fountain.
The National Palace of Sintra
There are so many things to see in Sintra, but most of them require you to do some climbing. Our first real stop was to visit the remains of Castelo de los Mouros, which happens to be located on the highest hill.
Next up was the Palace of Pena (my favourite site). The grounds were beautiful and the detail inside was just stunning. The rooms were decorated as they would have been when the palace was is use, including internationally themed rooms. Pictures aren’t allowed inside, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Next up, Quinta de Regaleira. It’s a mansion in the middle of the city, and classified as a World Heritage Site. There’s a palace, chapel, park, grotto, wells, lakes, fountains and more! There’s so much to see. In 1892 the land belonged to the Barons of Regaleira, until it was purchased by Carvalho Monteiro. His wish was to build a bewildering place where he could gather symbols that would reflect his interests and ideologies. To date, it is still one of the craziest palaces I’ve visited!
The entrance to the Labrinyth Grotto
Inside the Labrinyth Grotto
Outside the Labrinyth Grotto
There are many ‘hidden’ underground passages, connecting some of the sights around the garden. One of the passages brought me to this lake.
The Regaleira Tower
mosaics in the chapel
My favourite room inside! Yes that’s a mirror on the floor (I had to touch it to believe it).
That it was it to our sightseeing on day one. As it turned out, our hostel was attached to a bar. Suffice to say, we had a late start the next day.
We had to stop traveling at the beginning of May because it was exam time. Somehow, I’m not sure exactly, we all passed all our classes. There wasn’t much time to study, what with all the travelling, but we made it!
Which meant it was time for our next adventure. I was going to be travelling for the next 2 weeks with Janetta, Aidan, Cam & Kate, spend a month traveling alone, and then meet my mom for two weeks. All in all, it came out to exactly 2 months (and 8 countries) of non-stop travel.
Our first stop was to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
I had never planned on going to Portugal, but I couldn’t say no when my friends asked me to join. We only stayed in Lisbon for one day, but we packed as much in as possible. From castle views to hanging out by the water, it was a perfect intro day.
Castelo D’ St. Jorge
Placa de Comercio
Placa de Rossio
Statue of Edward 7th
Also, custard tarts really are better in Portugal.