Sintra and Pena Palace

We have been in Sintra for a few days now. I wonder if we are going to like each city more than the last. We love Sintra, and the change of pace is much appreciated. We still go out everyday, but things feel easier- probably because Sintra is smaller and more compact than Lisbon. Sintra is equally as stunning.

A few days ago we went to the mall, Alegro Sintra. It’s big. I’m not even sure what we did, but we spent hours there and didn’t even see half of it. The kids playground there was different than ones we have seen before and the kids spent a bit of time there. That day was kind of rough because we realized how overwhelming it is trying to acclimate. Seeing all of the stores I realized that we don’t even know what stores we like in Portugal. We still don’t know which stores to go to for certain items. But we’re learning, and eventually we will figure out what stores we like and where to go for specific items.

View near our AirBnb

That was also the day that an employee at the mall got visibly irritated with me when I asked him if he speaks English. I get that it would be annoying to have all of these people moving here who don’t even speak the language, but we really are trying. We do need to learn some more Portuguese ASAP. Most people here are incredibly kind and helpful, but we have run into one or two who seem very upset that we’re here. I suppose it’s like that in every country. Kyle pointed out that it’s humbling and he’s right. Everything is harder because we don’t speak the language.

The apartment search is not going as well as I had hoped, so I’m a bit anxious about that. Our SEF appointment is December 21, so we absolutely need a lease by then. We still have time, but it seems like there is a high demand for apartments right now and not much supply. Every apartment that we have been interested in is already rented and no longer available. All we need is one apartment, so fingers crossed that one becomes available and we’re able to get it. Needing an apartment and trying to learn a new language are our biggest life stressors right now, so we are pretty damn lucky.

One of the many amazing views from Pena Palace

We have been seeing Pena Palace on YouTube videos for months because it’s always shown when anyone talks about Sintra. Every single time Sofia would see it she would say “I want to go there!” Well today we finally went! I knew the castle would be beautiful because I have seen so many pictures of it. Pictures don’t do it justice. I had no idea how spectacular the view would be, and from so many different places. There is a wall walk that walks halfway around a part of the castle. I was fairly terrified because I’m scared of heights and Sofia was with me, so I had her arm in a death grip so that she wouldn’t try to climb over the side. Even she seemed somewhat impressed with the views.

We took bus 434 to the outside of the palace. There are ticket machines and you can buy tickets for just the park, or for the park and palace. If you want to go inside, buy park and palace. We didn’t want to go inside, so we just got the park tickets. You can also buy transfer tickets for 3 euro. The transfer ticket is needed to ride a separate bus to the top of the hill. We had no idea of this until later. When we walked in we saw a line of people waiting for the bus. We waited for 20+ minutes just to be told we needed additional tickets. So don’t wait in the bus line unless you paid for the transfer tickets. We walked up the hill to the palace. It really wasn’t so bad- the hills in Lisbon definitely helped to prepare us. There are lots of beautiful side trails and gardens which we skipped since we’re always on a bit of a timer with two young toddlers. We like to get things done before someone melts down- and it’s not always the toddlers that melt down 😆

We loved visiting Pena Palace. It’s gorgeous there and I wish we had a bit more time and energy to explore the grounds. We’re hoping to go back in a few years when the kids are older and we can ditch the strollers. Today we left Sofia’s stroller behind to see how it went. We made it, but she was tired and asked to sit in the stroller a few times. I guess we’re still sticking with two strollers for a while longer.