The Summer Homes of Sintra: Part 3

My final destination in Sintra was Quinta da Regaliera, a very interesting estate just outside the historic center of Sintra. As you walk uphill (yup that’s right, uphill – again) to the entrance you pass the grand 5-story gothic palace, giving a glimpse of what might lie in the grounds themselves.

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monterio, an eccentric millionaire, was the brainchild behind this particular estate. The grounds are riddled with secret passage and tunnels along with occult symbols and religious references. 

I started slow with this water fountain. The strange fish acts as the spout for the water to flow into the two-tiered bowls.

Water Fountain

Water Fountain

The grounds themselves are a challenge to navigate as they twist and turn and head off into unexpected directions or dead ends. Needless to say, I definitely walked the same paths a couple of times if not more.

The one place I was looking most forward to was the Initiatic Well. My friend, Jason told me all about it, which is why I choose Quinta da Regaleira as my final destination of the day. The well did not disappoint. Entering from the top I walked down the ten stories to the bottom where it opens up to the tunnels. There is a second smaller well on the property. The wells were used for ceremonial purposes that included Tarot initiation rites. The tunnels connect the wells to one another, in addition to various caves and other monuments located around the park.

Initiatic Well

Initiatic Well

Part of the cave system on the property is the Laybrinthic Grotto. For these tunnels, you will need a light source in order to get around because once you leave the cave opening there are no lights to guide you as there are in the tunnels near the Initiatic Well.

Labyrinthic Grotto

Labyrinthic Grotto

There is so much here in Quinta da Regaliera to see that you should plan to spend a few hours here if you can. I spent most of my time here at this estate more than the other two (Pena Palace and Moorish Castle) and I wish I had more time and energy. If I get a chance to get back I will be coming here first.

The Summer Home of Sintra: Moorish Castle

A short hike (downhill – luckily) from Pena Palace and Park is the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle). Even though I walked downhill to the castle you’ll notice in the photo below that it definitely looks more uphill than down. And if you look at the final image from the previous post you will notice that technically the castle is downhill from Pena. They just don’t tell you that it sits on another peak so you have to walk down and then back up to get to its entrance. Still its a great view from the trail as you look up at those castle walls. (Hey, I’m storming a castle…lol)

Moorish Castle

Moorish Castle

I’m convinced that the grounds and walls of the Moorish Castle are a form of torture with all the ups and downs and then ups again. This is not a place for the weak. I’m also lucky that the temps today dipped from 30ºC + to only about 22ºC. I don’t think I would have made it. Or if I did I would have been done for the rest of the day. Below is the view from one side of the castle walls to the other. What did I tell you? Ups and downs. Like a damn roller coaster except you have to walk. 

From One Wall to Another

From One Wall to Another

A little history: the castle was built in the 8th and 9th centuries and was conquered in 1147 by Alfonso Henriques. It fell to ruin after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake but eventually it’s restoration, by King Ferdinand II, began in the 19th century and continued into the 20th century. Today It is classified as a National Monument, part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Stone Walls

Stone Walls

The castle walls are quite narrow. You could easily knock someone off. Which would not be so pleasant as you would fall a couple stories down onto hard rock. And that’s the good scenario because falling out of the castle would be a far steeper drop to your death. 

When you exit from the castle you have a choice to either go back out to the main road to pick up the bus or if you take a path to the left you can exit the grounds and walk straight back (downhill) into the historical centre of Sintra. I took the path leading straight into town, away from the tourist buses. This also allowed me to see some of the back streets of the town.

HIdden Door

HIdden Door

At the bottom of the hill I found this doorway. I have a weird fascination with doors, particularly old ones. It’s like they want to tell a story. I wish I spoke door.

Continuing the walk into town (more downhill btw) I tried to figure out my way to Quinta da Regaleira. In the end I had to stop in at the information centre to ask where the heck I was and how to get to Quinta da Regaleira. (I ended up buying a map.) Seems I would need to walk a little further out of the historic centre and most likely uphill. *sigh 

Purple Plants

I did another walk around the neighbourhood to get some fresh air. While on my walk I noticed that the purple loosestrife flowers were just starting to bloom.

Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife

Purple and pink seemed to be the theme of the day as I finished my walk in the garden and found this pretty succulent called Ice Flower.

Ice Plant

Ice Flower

And so today’s neighbourhood and garden walk is over. What will I discover next time?

More of Spring

Because I sometimes can’t get away from the house or I just don’t want to, I end up doing lot of neighbourhood photo walks. Which I’m sure you have noticed.

Pheasant's Back mushroom

Pheasant’s Back mushroom

When I’m feeling uninspired I try to get myself out of the house and out into the parks around my home in search of that elusive inspiration or just to clear my head.

Red Tulips

Red Tulips

The parks in my area are essentially wild areas that they’ve decided to call parks with, of course, the occasional playground-type park sprinkled here and there. As you might guess my favourites are these wild areas.

Flower buds

Flower buds

These wild areas are where I find all sorts of things to photograph. Be it the flowers and mushrooms or sometimes people’s cast offs (which you’ve seen in previous posts). There is always something to spark the imagination.

The Garden Gate

The Garden Gate

Even if its not in colour.

Forget Me Nots

Forget Me Nots

What inspires you and helps you get out of a creativity funk?

Vine Covered Homes & Waterfalls

Today I headed with my friend Nigel up to Lion’s Head for a weekend adventure on the trails. This three and a half hour drive can be tedious but there are some goodies to photograph along the way.

Abandoned House

Abandoned House

An old abandoned house, on the west side of the highway, has caught my eye a few times but with the fall colours it was hard not to pull over and get some shots. And then I had to try it out in infrared.

Abandoned House IR

Abandoned House IR

Back on the road after getting some shots of the house we decided to stop at Jones Falls in Owen Sound and make our way along the trail to the bottom of the waterfall. Someone had decided to build a little waterfall guardian at its base.

Guardian

Guardian

I couldn’t leave you without a photo of the falls so here is a view just off to the side.

Jones Falls

Jones Falls

From here we got back onto the trail and headed back to the car for the final leg of the trip.