In the modern age, technology and innovation has made it easy for the casual traveler to easily explore the four corners of the world. It also means that there are very few places left undiscovered. Even though it’s the status quo now, it was not always the case a few hundred years ago. It’s hard for people to imagine a world other than the one they were born into. Before the Age of Discovery, people would look out from the cliffs into the boundless ocean and believe that it was the end of the world. The famous Portuguese explorers changed that preconception, venturing out to Asia and Africa, leading the way for discoveries of a whole different world.
Growing up watching Disney movies, I’ve always dreamt of walking through a fairy tale landscape. Sintra, a small picturesque Portuguese town set amidst pine covered hills, is a fairytale come true, complete with turreted palaces. It is an extraordinary place with a rich history, ornate palaces, and ancient ruins – all of which are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After visiting in 1809, the famous British poet and traveler Lord Byron declared that the town is “perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe,” and calling it a “glorious Eden” in his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Continue reading
The picturesque town of Sintra, has long been a sanctuary for royalty and is known for their many fairy-tale castles and colorful palaces from the Romantic period. My favorite is Quinta da Regaleira, with its beautiful palace and extensive grounds filled with little pockets of gardens and secret tunnels. One of these tunnels lead to a tall spiraling well that was used for secretive initiation rites many years ago.
On the sixth day of our travel, we made it out to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe. The startling jagged cliffs dropped sharply down to the turbulent Atlantic ocean. The powerful bracing wind whipped across my face, mixing the briny ocean air with the sweet smelling grass. The setting sun covered by the thin layer of cloud and fog, cast a grey shadow over the rock face giving the place a wild rugged feel.