Sintra was as gorgeous as a quaint European town rich in history, adventure and fabulous architecture can be. We were recommended to take on a day’s trip there with an Airbnb guide and it was a day well spent. We started the day with a walk at the historic centre with our lovely guide Miguel who took us through the cobbled streets and talked us through the quirky stories of different buildings, pastries and architecture. We moved on to the Palace of Quinta da Regaleira which was basically acres of gardens and gothic castles which were supposed to be the backdrop of Freemason initiation rituals. We then went to Cabo da Roca a clifftop spot overseeing the Atlantic coastline which is supposed to be the most Western point of the European continent. The day ended at Pena Palace which is an absolute must-see – a somewhat Gaudi like fantasy palace which is a conflation of multiple aesthetic influences including British and Indian with a fascinating story of how it came to be.
We had never been to Portugal before and were labouring under the misapprehension that it would be somewhat similar to its Iberian neighbour Spain. But we could not be more wrong… there was something infinitely more mysterious, exciting and rich in the country than imagined. As we started the day exploring this delightful coastal town, a member of the tour group said that a Portuguese friend told him while Spain was the gates of Heaven, Portugal was Heaven itself and by the end of the day we thought perhaps his friend had a point…
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