We have somewhat settled into our temporary life in Sintra. Every 2-3 days we have a pretty big outing, and then we take a day or two to stick around the area and rest a bit. Over the past week, we have taken the train into Lisbon a few times. It was nice getting a break from Lisbon, and it was nice going back. We went to the aquarium on one of the days. Another day just me and Sofia went to the science museum.
Today we took the bus to Quinta da Regaleira and it was one of the most fun days we have had. It was a lot of walking, but it was an easy day. The bus went from the Sintra train station to directly outside of the palace.
The outside of the palace is beautiful. The inside is fine, but I love the inside of the Sintra National Palace, so the inside of Quinta da Regaleira just paled in comparison. The grounds, however, are absolutely amazing. I’m not sure which I find more beautiful- Pena Palace or Quinta da Regaleira. This one was easier with kids, more stroller friendly, and more kid-friendly. There were a few areas where the kids got to run around. That wasn’t the case at Pena Palace, where everything was so up high that I was terrified the kids would lean over a railing too far and fall.
Quinta da Regaleira was a lot of fun because it feels like there are so many secret parts. There are a few main paths, but numerous paths that branch off to different things. We ran across a few underground caves to explore. Countless staircases lead to beautiful views or underground caves. I feel like we saw a lot, but I know there is so much that we didn’t see. There were tons of staircases that we skipped because of the strollers. We were there for almost 4 hours and there was still so much more to explore. I want to go back to Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira in 10 or so years when the kids are older and we can explore a lot more.
We had lunch at the cafe there, and it was one of my favorite meals we’ve had since coming here. The view/surroundings were also some of the best I have seen. I was sitting facing the palace, with a view of some of the gardens, a fountain, and the city in the background. It was really relaxing and nice. I forgot to take pictures because Sofia kept trying to play in the fountain. They wouldn’t have captured everything anyways, it was one of those times that you just had to be there. As beautiful as our pictures are, they still just don’t do justice to the places we have been. Portugal is very photogenic, but it’s also even more beautiful than its pictures.
One of the highlights of our day is that we ran into Dan and Michelle from Honeymoon Always. They moved from the US to Portugal a few months before we did. They have a YouTube channel and I watch all of their videos. In the US the videos helped provide info on what to expect, and their experiences with the visa process. Now I like their videos because I get to see them do some of the things we eventually want to do, like going down to the algarve. They were super nice and it was great getting to talk to other people who have done what we just did. Hopefully we will run into them again some day.
On Monday we are heading to Leiria. I am very excited to see where we are going to live- both the actual city and the apartment. Moving is a huge hassle each time. We came here with 7 boxes, 2 suitcases, and 4 backpacks. Each time we move, we have more stuff. This time is the last though, at least for a few years. We’re still trying to work out the logistics of how to get to Leiria, but we’re figuring it out. Every time we move we have to take two separate vehicles. Me and the kids usually take an Uber (we still have their American carseats with us). The day we first got here we took two separate taxis from the airport. Kyle’s driver turned out to be wonderful and gave Kyle his card. He brought Kyle and Bailey to Sintra from Lisbon, and now he is going to bring Kyle and Bailey to Leiria. It’s more difficult finding someone wiling to transport an 80 pound dog, so we’re super grateful to have found someone willing to transport Bailey.
I’m ready to move into our apartment and get settled, but I’m kind of sad to be leaving Sintra. I have gotten used to Sintra. I have gotten used to the amazing view just a few feet away from our Airbnb. I have gotten used to the buses and bus system around here. I’ve gotten used to being 5 minutes away from the Sintra train station. I have gotten used to looking around and feeling like I am in some magical place. I am excited to explore the Silver Coast, but I know that Sintra has a kind of magic that we won’t find anywhere else.