Lose your mind climbing through the INITIATION WELL in SINTRA (PORTUGAL)
This is the creepiest looking hobbit hole you can imagine! It is wet, damp, slippery and dark but you won’t think twice to climb up and down. You will feel like Alice in Wonderland or like an enlightened monk depending on the state of your mental health :D
This place is situated in the ‘Gaudies like’ gardens, but it is incomparably better and less touristy. Don’t forget to wear your trainers as Sintra is all about walking. I have seen a girl in 15cm heels here but if you read this article I believe you are not that type of masochists ladies. Anyway, you will find a lot of tours which will take you to this place situated 1h from Lisbon. I had a rental car and I had no problem with parking, but apparently this can be an issue if you have bad luck.
Choose nice weather and come here for your dose of Zen.
When I was talking to my neighbour who visited it a year ago she said ‘You will love Sintra, all you have to do is this, listen! Everybody goes there to visit the colourful Pena Palace in Sintra, but all you have to do is to find this beautiful hole in the ground! Really, find that hole, I don’t remember what it is called but go there!’
So, I started to search for the Sintra hole…as you can imagine, people in Lisbon were looking at me and didn’t know if they should laugh or bring a dictionary.
Here is a plan for how to find it: it is on the top of the park Quinta da Regaleira
Come to Sintra, find the tourist office and take the free maps for all the places you can visit here. Be prepared that you will need to pay around 8E entrance fee in every place. Start with the park Quinta da Regaleira, it is very close to the tourist office, and you will spend from 1 to 2 hours there. Depending on the level of photo freakiness. (For me it was more likely 3h so you can imagine what kind of crazy person I am). You will have a lot of opportunities to take the most amazing pictures.
You will find several caves, waterfalls, charming little paths, beautiful floral decorated benches and the Art Nouveau architecture.
The audio guide is nice to have but with all that beauty surrounding me, I forgot to listen to it.
The well was built for initiation rituals and when you climb down and up, you will immediately see the symbolism. You are climbing up through the dark wet tunnel. The stairs are slippery, you are not sure how much longer it will take, you can take a wrong turn and end up in the long labyrinth of dark corridors and caves, but you instinctively follow the light at the end of a tunnel until the end and voila! You were just reborn! You are on the ground in the beautiful gardens in the heaven. Literally;)). Calm yourself, think about the deeper sense of this little trip and enjoy this experience to the maximum. If you will still have some time left, you can go for a beautiful hike up to the
Park and Pena Palace in Sintra
Attention! This is not boring at all and it will take only around 1h. I hated that idea and did it only to satisfy my step tracker, but it happened to be one of the nicest walks I have done. You are not walking through a boring forest, but you take a walk through charming little handmade paths, gardens with different flowers and sculptures.
You can also sit on different art nouveau benches and make millions of ‘rain forest type’ exotic photos. Don’t be surprised when you climb all the way up just to learn that to come closer to those colourful buildings you will have to pay the entrance fee. It is worth it though.
I bought the ticket only for the park because all I was interested in was to see the famous colourful building. If you would want to visit it from inside, the price is even higher, so I would recommend – don’t bother.
For the way down, you can take a tuk-tuk and have some fun on the steep road down. It cost only 5E for a person and you will find them at the entrance.
All the tours around the Sintra will be faster if you choose the 'hop in hop of' bus. You will probably tick more of the ‘must see’ places but I recommend this only if you have issues walking. If you are lucky enough to be healthy, go for a walk and make it a healthy day out. Healthy for your body and mind.