Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pretty things and ghostly toilet paper

Previously, we headed down to Belem, got caught in yet another rain storm, saw a fancy monastery and ate our body weight in custard tarts.

With our last full day in Lisbon, we decided that we should head back out to Sintra because there was still more to see and do. The day didn't start brilliantly - we stopped at Starbucks because Mum was in need of coffee, and I figured I may as well get a hot chocolate. Except the typical Starbucks name-for-the-cup thing didn't turn out quite right for me:

Yup. Costy.

We started our second day in Sintra with a trip to Quinta da Regaleira, which if I recall correctly was built by an eccentric rich dude. The house was a weird mixture of ridiculously ornate and incredibly plain that seems to be common in Portugal. The British and European palaces and stately homes that I've visited have all been over the top rooms with over the top furniture in them. Portugal? Over the top ceilings or walls, everything else is plain and boring. Weird...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanywho, the house was pretty. But not *too* over the top.

Who doesn't love to hold a starfish to their
boob while at the beach?! 
Ridiculous doorknob is ridiculous.
The gardens, meanwhile, were lots of fun. It wasn't so much that the plants were spectacular so much as it was that the gardens were HUGE and there were unexpected buildings and underground grottos and stuff all over the place.

Once we'd exhausted the possibilities in the gardens, we stopped by the cafe for a quick ice cream based lunch and headed out to the bus stop to wait for the bus to our next destination. It turned out that the bus was running about 15 minutes late, so a very nice guy from a fancy hop on, hop off tour company who happened to have a mostly empty bus was like "Yeah, don't wait for the crappy public bus. I'll take you for free!". So that was awesome.

Our next destination was Monserrate Palace, and it was pretty damned spectacular. I think it was easily my favourite of the places we visited in Sintra. The gardens were fairly fabulous, but it was the house that I liked the most. It was open and spacious and full of Indian and Middle Eastern influences, and it was just GORGEOUS. Even the rooms that were still under repair and had no ceilings.

Mildly ornate walls.

The music room was especially stunning, and I kind of wish I could attend a concert there.

By the time we'd finished there, the afternoon was rapidly disappearing. C wanted to go to another palace that was further afield, but we had no idea how late it was open or what time the buses finished and we didn't want to risk being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting back to town. So we spent 20 minutes waiting for a bus, headed straight to the train station and back to Lisbon, had a drink or two, and then went back to the little restaurant we'd found near the cathedral for a delicious and relatively early dinner before heading back to our apartment to pack.

And take photos of the ghostly toilet paper, because obviously:

Next time, we head to the airport and back to jolly old England where we spend a stupidly long time standing in a queue. Obviously.

K xx

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