Thursday, 5 July 2012

Garden of Eden

Day 71 - 02.07.12 Sintra 3

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra Portugal
Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra PortugalWe had a bit of a lie in after yesterday’s exertion and then headed to the post office to finally get the laptop sent off.  We got all the paperwork filled out and then were told the post office doesn’t take cards.  The nearest cash machine was empty, as too was the only other one in the centre of Sintra.  Cue a twenty minute walk to the next cash machine!  After we got back we grabbed some lunch whilst the post office took its two hour lunch break and then got everything settled up.  Fingers crossed they can get it all fixed in the UK.
Ornate fireplace, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra Portugal
We then headed out to Quinta da Regaleira, a grand mansion and gardens about ten minutes out of town.  The entrance fee was more reasonable than some at 6 euros, although the on-site cafĂ© wanted THREE EUROS for a can of coke o_O! 

Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra PortugalThe house is architecturally superb, full to the brim with interesting features.  The dramatic turrets and grand balconies outside are matched indoors by extravagant doors, pretty frescoes and beautifully carved wood ceilings.  The design is very imaginative and unusual.  The floor of the library for instance is surrounded by a square of mirrored tiles which from the middle of the room make it feel like it is suspended in the air and from the edge make it look like the bookshelves carry on forever.  It’s quite disconcerting!

Bottom of the initiation well, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra PortugalFountain in the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra PortugalThe gardens are just magnificent.  They are utterly huge and open for you to just wander around and stumble across castle towers, fountains, grottoes and sculptures.  Portugal’s lack of regard for health and safety law makes the gardens an adventure to explore, including stepping stones across the bottom of a waterfall and pitch black underground tunnels!  The tunnels lead you to the bottom of a very deep, dark well which makes for incredible views up toward the sky.  After a huge spiral staircase to the top you are met with a huge revolving stone door.  A visit to Quinta da Regaleira really does feel like a trip into a story-book fantasy land.  The whole place is full of imagination and wonder, I love it!

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