First off, Moon Hill hostel in Cintra is probably one of the coolest hostels in the world. At 20 euros it was pricy, but well worth it. Hip employees, a lovely aesthetic, and a restaurant that gives a discount for dinner and free breakfast in the morning. Sintra itself is absolutely gorgeous, with about five palaces and an old 10th century castle, Castel dos Mouros. The hostel had Mac computers for use, played only music I listen to by coincidence, and has square shaped toilet seats. The whole building is passive, motion sensor lights and 10 second shower buttons. Super cool. I was tired, my knee hurt, and I felt like I needed to reel this trip in. I am tired of getting lost. To be honest, up to this point the country has not impressed me with its beauty, the scenery has been nice and green, but mild. Today was different, in many ways.
I slept through dinner last night. I wanted to eat at five, but the restaurant didn’t open until seven. I set an alarm to wake up after a nap I desperately needed, but my clock was not set right. I ended up crashing out at about 6 again. I awoke with a start around 12:30, hungry and dispirited. I spent an hour studying knee pain and thinking about what to do if my knee blew out, how inconvenient it would be to travel with a bicycle if you are not riding it.
Slept until seven. My roommate, a young man named Alejandro, from Bolivia but studying for a year in Portugal, also managed to sleep thirteen hours, to my amazement- long train ride. He is a very agreeable young man, and between us I got to practice my Spanish and he his English. He understands well, just needs to gain some confidence. He also speaks Portuguese, of course. Just like the front desk people- they all speak Portuguese, Spanish, and English it seems. He was great company.
We woke up to heavy rain, ate our delicious complimentary breakfast, and took a bus up to the Castel dos Mouros. It was beautiful, with a breathtaking view, the top of this part of the world. You can see for miles! The townnof Sintra is easy on the eyes too. I got us lost (kind of on purpose) on the way back and we walked into town, which only took about ten minutes longer than catching the bus back, thankfully. I was worried about getting on down the road, and by the time we returned it was one o’clock. I almost didn’t fork up the time and money to go but I’m glad I did, and it was the right move. I am here to see things!
My camera is still on the fritz. I take a picture here and there with my tablet, but it is too big to walk around with. Here is a picture of the alluring Castle on the Hill, taken from my room:
Here’s the hostel living room:
We returned to the hostel around one o’clock, where they graciously held on to my bike for me. It stopped raining about ten minutes from the hostel. I bid Alejandro farewell and took off, nervous about my knee and a little worried about daylight. I was not going to hurt my knee though. I took my time. By the grace of God, the road was almost completely flat. It was also nice to ride on, a less travelled two-lane road that took me through beautiful open farm towns and ultimately, along the coast! I had flashbacks of Costa Rica and then strong memories of riding down the California coast, aside from the ocean being on the wrong side (we rode South on that trip.) I saw some strange polka-dotted pheasants with white heads strongly reminiscent of bone. I saw a periwinkle house with a coral roof (! LOVE it!):
Ocean. There are a bunch of surf schools out here, there’s a Roxy/Quiksilver bar in town! Yeah bro. The town is aptly named, it has California vibes. There are beautiful flowers growing wild here, I think I saw asphodels. There were a few that we buy in the U.S. just growing in swampy areas off the road. Some really flamboyant foliage!
Another day. I think I must needs blog less; I can’t bring it back for you. It is difficult not to chronicle everything, every day is significant!