(I’ve been slow to post this journal on my website, only posting this one just now on July 14th, 2020 – with that said this delay has given my even greater perspective on my trip and on life. At the time I thought this day in Sintra was absolutely off the charts (even noting it at the end of my journal entry at the time) – and now looking back over 4 years later I clearly consider it a Top 10 day of my life)
Woke up excited for the road trip I planned last night. I was joining a few other hostelers (and folks from other nearby hostels) to explore a few top spots in Sintra and then a forest and nearby beach town. I nabbed a very quick bowl of cereal and headed out.
Instructions last night weren’t super clear, but I went to the meeting point and waited for the white Mercedes van. And waited. And waited. And after 30 minutes went back to the hostel a little bit perturbed (and it takes a lot to get me upset.) Apparently the guy at the hostel forgot to confirm the booking with the company? I’m not sure.
Regardless lemons into lemonade, I got directions and tips from a hostel staff member and walked to the train station. Within an hour I was in Sintra and walking towards Quinta da Regaleria – a home purchased by an 1800’s business tycoon and with the help of a set designer architect, turned into one of the most beautiful, exquisite estates ever seen. Like a few other stops on this trip, it was as if I was standing in front of a green screen. The sheer detail, lighting, and movie set perfection was amazing.
Of particular note was the underground caves and grottos, stone bridges, stepping stones on the water, and perhaps most impressive, the 27m well of initiation. Straight out of a fairytale or fantasy movie; you can walk down into this huge well/hole. Very tough to describe – videos or pictures do a much better job.
After another 45 minutes of exploring the gardens and estate I headed back towards town. After lunch, rather than take a bus to Palacio Da Pena, like many other times on trip, I decided to walk. It was a hilly, but beautiful walk through the residential neighborhood leading to the Palacio.
The Palacio Da Pena used to be a monastery, but in the early 1800’s was purchased by the king/state. In the 1840’s it was completely renovated into a palace, where the Portuguese kings lived until ~1910. It’s best known for its perch above town, its fantasmical architecture, and its incredibly vibrant colors. It looks more like a Disneyland dream castle than anything that was ever actually used. Regardless, it was majestic.
On the way back to town, I ran into a few issues, accidentally getting locked in a part of the Palace grounds that had closed 45 minutes earlier, but the staff were just on their way out by the gate, so no fence hopping was needed. An hour later I was getting off the tram and walking back to my hostel on Rua Agusta.
This post Alt For Norge journey has been an incredible one. I’ve now had quite a bit of time hopping around Europe, but all good things must come to an end…
“Great so tell you what, since you’re already over there, we’re doing fine here in the office, so if you want to stick around I’d encourage you to do so. This is a once in a lifetime trip, take advantage. Your drop dead date to be back in the office is July 5th, so if you have some friends to visit or bucket list items to check off, I’d encourage you to take the next couple weeks and just enjoy it.”
The 4th of July!?!? Game changer! In a huge way. Where do I go now?! This opens up a huge range of possibilities. Maybe Croatia first? Then where? The paradox of choice! The world is my oyster. Who lives like this!? Who has these opportunities!? Especially with a career!? I’m so lucky!
I’ve said it in previous posts, but I am SO fortunate to work for the people I do. They’re honest, hardworking, driven, but also down to earth and have dreams, goals, and aspirations. Dave knows travel is a huge passion of mine, but to have given met this extra time!? Unreal. If you want to know how to build employee loyalty, let this be example 1a.
This means I’ll literally be back in the states 5-6 days after the winner of AFN. This means my 3 shirt, 1 short, 4 underwear, 4 socks will need to last a bit longer. This means I’ve got some serious planning to do! None of this seems real!
I chat with new hostel mates. Wiepke, a very cute boxer from Germany – she recommends I visit Berlin. I stay up late into the night researching flights and locations, but don’t pull any triggers. I’ll do that tomorrow on more sleep.
Looking back writing this, this day probably is one of the top 10 days of my life.
The adventure continues. The adventure… never stops.