portugal: sintra not sinatra smartphone auto correct

If you try to type in Sintra on your smartphone you may get Sinatra and although some of us appreciate the classic artist, he is not a travel destination. Sintra is, for Portugal.

We got up a little later on Sunday, since we knew within 40 minutes we would be in Sintra, and we also learned the last train leaving Sintra was at 12:50a.m. or something like that, which meant we could come and go as we please from Lisbon.

But we opted to leave our hotel around ten, leisurely  walking to the Rossio train station, a hop-skip from the center of town where we are staying. I looked up at the monitor mounted at a corner wall near the escalators  taking note the next train leaving at 10:40, with a line a mile long to buy tickets. I wasn’t worried since according to the TV monitor there was a train leaving every 30 minutes. My travel partner however was freaked out, along with the hundred or so people in line desperate to get on that particular train. Whatever. We crawled through the line, got our tickets with a minute to spare, running and jumping onto the train as the doors slid to a close. Perfect! Looking for a seat or two was another ordeal, since I had no intention of standing up in the hot muggy train. Lucky for me two workers, not sure if street or security since their uniforms were misleading, stood up and offered us their seats. Thank you Portuguese workers of some sort. And we were on our way, falling asleep almost instantly, me not really caring since I figured the chaos upon arrival was enough to wake me up, and it was.

We got out, got in line to the tourist info booth, and was given too much information about all of our options to see Sintra. I asked the agent how much of it was walkable, and she pointed to the center of the town and two castles – Quinta da Regaleira and Palacio National De Sintra. We could walk to the others if we wanted to, but it required hours of our time. I was okay with it, my hubby wasn’t so off we went for breakfast to fuel up and began our walk to Regaleria.

Sintra according to Lonely Planet , and according to me is a must see. A mountain top destination most popular for the countless castles perched along the peeks, each unique and full of history, open to the public, best seen with a tour or by car. Doable on foot, if you have the energy and the right shoes.  I have to say I appreciated the plush greenery surrounding this picturesque hidden gem, almost fairytale like, most definitely peaceful and surreal.

The plus side to this wonderful UNESCO destination is that all of the restaurants and shops remained open throughout the day, and most everyone in the area is very friendly and helpful. The palaces are unforgettable and fascinating.

We stayed until seven, taking our time after the walks to sit at a restaurant in the town center and just people watch, an experience all of its own. I couldn’t ask for a better day.

{heres more on Sintra}http://www.sintra-portugal.com/index.php

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