(The writer of this guest blog and her partner go by their pseudo names – Him as Chennai Chicken and her as PearPerson)
Chennai Chicken and I were in Portugal for a quick holiday before we moved out of Europe. We first visited Porto and Lisbon, did all the generic touristy stuff and then some. But we had about half a day before we went back to Germany and we were thinking about how to round out the time. And one of the things at the top of our to-see list was Sintra. ChennaiChicken, being from Ireland, has a big love for castles so we just had to head up there (after we saw mind-blowing pictures of the place online)!
Sintra is only about 45 mins from Lisbon by train. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has quite a few worthwhile attractions. The area is hilly with winding roads and the small town is nestled in greenery. There is a bus stop right outside the train station where you can get the 434 bus to see two of Sintra’s famous castles.
We hopped on a bus and it took us to Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) first. The route was full of uphill hairpin bends and it left us feeling queasy, but once we got out in the sun it was all worth it. This 8th century castle is on a hill, and overlooks the town of Sintra. It’s quite a trek to get up to the top and walk the wall (so wear comfortable shoes) but the views are absolutely incredible. Instagram enthusiasts rejoice! I’m not much of a photographer but even I was tempted to max out my phone storage.
From Castelo dos Mouros, you can see the bright multicoloured Palácio Nacional da Pena, which is where we went next. There was a short walk from the entrance to the actual palace itself but you could also take a bus if you wanted to. If there was ever a palace that looked like a cake, this was it. It has magnificent colourful domes and Islamic style arches. The arches vaguely reminded me of home in the Middle East. We took a really nice guided tour inside after which we hung around to admire the view and take photos. Try to visit here at non-peak times because it can get pretty crowded. It is, after all, one of the most popular sights in Portugal!
We wanted to spend more time in Sintra checking out the Quinta da Regaleira or the Praia da Adraga but we had to head back to Lisbon. We’d only seen a couple of things here but our legs were worn out from all the walking and the sun. All the time living in Germany hadn’t prepared us for the hike! Maybe next time we’ll spend the weekend.
The writer of this guest blog is a reference of a dear friend who reached out to me and was super excited to pen down a few words of her gallivanting life. PearPerson is Indian by descent, raised in the Middle East. She met ChennaiChicken when she was doing her PhD in Germany and they’re currently engaged. She travelled quite a bit with her friends before she met him and travelled even more with him after. They have some great memories from those trips and writing about them is a way for them to relive those moments and never forget them.
After she defended her thesis, she moved to Australia to be with ChennaiChicken as he started a new job. She struggled with unemployment the first few months that they we were there. She started her own blog as a way to be productive during that time and sort of give herself an outlet for her creativity. It’s something she’s wanted to do for a while but just never had the time. She started writing articles just about anything, mostly life stories and experiences. She roped ChennaiChicken in because he loved to write about their trips. They each coined their nicknames, hers as PearPerson and his as ChennaiChicken (both names stemming from a private joke).
PearPerson currently works at a university in Australia. She needed another partner to help her keep the blog alive and hence she roped her mother in as well. Her mother is an awesome cook and there’s always someone (mostly her kids!) asking her for a recipe for something. She’s always wanted to make a sort of database for all her recipes, old and new, so she was super excited when Pear Person asked her to join.
Their blog is only a few months old, and they are just having fun with it 🙂
1. The star function on Google Maps is super useful. Mark everything you want to see on the map and it’ll make planning your trip much much easier.
2. Walking is the absolute best way to see a new place. We wouldn’t have had half the experiences we had if we didn’t walk places. And wear comfy shoes!
3. Sample street food (carefully!). Big restaurants got nothing on them.
4. Some of the best food we had in Europe was just in random unknown little local spots. It was authentic, delicious and always had a story to go with it.
5. Take pictures, of course, but try not to let your instinct to capture everything keep you from living in the moment. You can always write about it later and remember those moments that way 😉
6. WET WIPES. You will thank me.
Website – https://thepearpapers.com/
Insta – https://www.instagram.com/thepearpapers/
Pinterest (only food) – https://www.pinterest.com.au/thepearpapers/