SHOP THE POST
My body’s apparently gone on strike for some reason this week (the entire left side of my body from the back down just completely seized up after a run-weights session the other day and has only gotten more painful since, ugh!) so as I type this before heading to an emergency physio session with the gloomy, grey Vancouver skies dumping a steady stream of rain on us, it would be a bit of an understatement to say that I wish I could be back in beautiful Sintra, Portugal right now exploring the palaces (yes, multiple palaces!) and natural beauty of the town! Lisbon and Cascais were so beautiful, but I’ve got to say, in terms of sheer fairytaleness (just made that word up on the spot, no big deal), Sintra takes the cake. Click through to see today’s travel diary from this magical place and find out how we almost didn’t make it!
So, funny story about our trip to Sintra. The night before, Matt and I decided to basically do a pub crawl of all the fado bars in our area in Lisbon (you have to see our Lisbon travel diary that highlights the historical area we stayed in – so beautiful!). The only word that can aptly describe the level of vinho verde-induced drunk we got is…obliterated. I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on the fact that they always serve vinho verde in these sort of nondescript, impossible-to-gauge-volume-wise jugs and it’s so effervescent and light that you don’t really realize you’re drinking that much.
Okay, that’s a lie – it wasn’t the jugs’ fault. But regardless, we were certainly loving life that night, making best friends with the fado singers and guitar players, checking out a Portuguese twelve-string guitar, getting force-fed really salty Portuguese ham by our friend the corner store guy (“you eat this, my friends, you eat this and you feel fine tomorrow…eat more, eat more”). It was a great night, particularly when we decided after the urging of our corner store friend to get more vinho verde and finish it while watching really hilarious (or so we thought) Portuguese reality TV (oh, and more ham, we got more ham). My friends have snapchats from that night that are just legitimately deranged. It was definitely a night for the record books.
But then we woke up the next day and it was….it was just bad. I remember walking to the living room to check on Matt and he was just slouched over the open window, quite literally green in the face. It was disturbing. I felt like I was going to literally die. The world was bleak. Everything was spinning. The sun was especially painful that day. Everyone seemed to be walking so fast around us. It was all just so awful, and of course, we also had that whole hungover guilt about the fact that it was us who ruined our last full day in Lisbon.
With that guilt as motivation, we somehow finally dragged ourselves out of the house and on the way to the train station to see Sintra. There were quite a few “STOOOOOP! STOP…oh my God nooooooo” emergency melt-downs along the way when I had to slouch against a wall and breathe shallowly with my eyes closed, and let’s just say that the train ride there was a dark period in both of our lives, but once we got there…magic. Honestly, Sintra is just so beautiful and there’s just so much to see and do that somehow, we were both feeling pretty okay all of a sudden.
One piece of advice I would give right from the onset here though is to not get drunk the night before so that you can actually spend a full day there. Our pathetic selves only managed a half day there and there was honestly so much more we could’ve done. There are so many palaces to see – everyone goes to see the Palacio da Pena (that Disneyland-esque one that looks like an acid trip gone wrong/right [depending on how you look at it ]) but I personally loved the Quinta da Regaleira. It was much less expensive price-wise for the pass and there was so much history, so much to explore and really just so beautiful. I could’ve easily spent a full day just there alone, though all of the palaces are worth seeing.
Sintra is also special because while most people go to Portugal for the beachy destinations (think Lisbon, Cascais, Lagos, etc), Sintra is set in the mountains and has a true fairytale, woodland vibe to it. It’s just a beautiful place, though because of its different climate, I would also suggest packing a light sweater! I honestly never wanted a sweater to cozy up with my whole time in Portugal except for when the evening set in in Sintra.
I’m so happy we managed to make it out here because despite our horrendous hangovers earlier in the day, this was maybe one of the most special days of my entire time in Portugal. And like the dumb little idiot children that we are, it completely tuckered us out, requiring naps on the train before we went nuts on pizza at the best little spot on our street in Alfama.
I’m going to wrap up the last leg of Portugal next week before moving on to Paris (eep!) – stay tuned for some of my absolute favourite travel content yet and also for some incredible giveaways that are tied in with the travel diaries!
And also, a quick PSA: don’t try the salty ham trick this weekend at your holiday party festivities – our corner store friend was definitely lying to us because it totally didn’t work/may have made things worse ;). Happy weekend, friends!
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