Thursday, 25 January 2018

Sintra

Portugal is absolutely phenomenal for traveling with a baby. 5/5 would recommend. We didn't quite realize the extent of this until our day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. Sintra is an easy 1-hour train ride from Lisbon, with great signage and accessible transportation. The only not-so-easy part was buying the train tickets. Luckily for us, wearing a baby on your chest is the equivalent of holding up a huge sign saying "Please Help Me / Let Me Cut In This Line / Tell Me If I'm In The Wrong Line". We had a few people approach us offering help, and letting us know that babies (and elderly) get priority and are allowed to skip all lines everywhere. This included the 23452345 person line to buy the tickets to Sintra, as well as the 234098098 person line to get on the train.

Sintra is a gorgeous town on the west coast of Portugal, with lots of historic monuments, Moorish castles and royal villas. All these attractions are conveniently connected by both local busses and hop-on-hop-off tours. You definitely need several days to see all the sights, but most people just fit in all the major spots in one day.

We visited The Moorish Castle, which was constructed sometime between the 8-11th century as an observational stronghold to guard the town of Sintra. It was eventually taken over after the Christian conquest of Portugal.





Our second stop was Pena Palace - THE major highlight for most tourists coming to visit Sintra and Lisbon. The bright, eccentric colors of the palace contrast the surrounding green of the Sintra forest and make it stand out among all the other architecture in Sintra. This palace was built for Queen Maria II by her young German consort, Ferdinand II.  We walked through the palace, and to be honest, liked the outside much much more. The comical architecture and bright colors made it feel like a Disney castle set.




This is one of the initiation wells of Quinta de Regaleira. The wells were never used, nor intended for water collection. Instead, they were used for secretive initiation rites.


Once we were ready to head back, we were greeted with several bus-loads' worth of people waiting in line for the bus. With our heads down, and our baby held up high, we confidently marched right past the whole lineup of people, all the while avoiding eye contact. No one said a word except for the first man in line who was extremely vocal about how much he disagreed with this whole babies-get-priority thing.

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