Involuntary Exercise

Still rainingOur journey to Sintra wasn’t short of rain. At first when we reached the tourist center in Sintra, the day looked promising, 2 mins later it began to pour. I was glad I had bought the poncho with the other two American girls. It rained heavily, we beamed when everyone in the group looked at our ponchos with envy. I thought the rain was going to stop at some point but it actually rained all day in Sintra.


Pocho Sisters

Hiking or Tuk Tuk~While our travel guide was informing us of our next activities. Emily, Amanda (American girls),Maryss and I were deciding if we should get on a Tuk Tuk up the hill to the palace or not. It was a 40 minutes hike but  about 20-25 minutes ride with the Tuk Tuk. For some reason, we decided against the Tuk Tuk and agreed to hike with the group. I think the price of it was the real determinant. One important point of this story is that Maryss and I decided not to pay the entrance fee to go into the Palace. We figured that seeing the exterior was more worth it than the interior.  So we hiked and hiked  and hiked. 15 minutes in, I was already regretting not taking the Tuk Tuk. Not only was it an intense work out, it was also raining and freezing. An hour later, we reached the admission entrance. It was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting to see the Palace right behind the entrance, apparently one had to still hike up a bit to finally reach the Palace. In addition to that,there weren’t any activities or shops outside the gate. Those of us who didn’t pay the admission fee had no other option but to go back down. The worst part is that the Palace was so high up that I could barely take a good picture. I was upset with myself. This was regret number 2, “why didn’t I just pay for the Palace?” I thought. The good thing was that Emily and Amanda did pay, so I told them to take pictures for me. Maryss and I walked down the hill, it was easier than going up. There were a bunch of other people that didn’t pay the admission fee so we all hiked down. The girls in the group were taking selfies of literally every corner they hiked down from. I did a few selfies but I couldn’t do much as I was shivering from the cold. It kept getting colder and colder. 

Strangers~ While we were hiking down, Maryss and I discovered a mini fossil center hiding in the corner. There were a couple of tourists walking in and out of it. Most of the people there were children, probably working on a geology project. After we looked in the center and came out, we saw a nice stepping hill. We thought it would be cute to take a picture on it. Since we couldn’t take a picture of both of us, we decided to do it by turns. Two gentlemen saw what we were about to do and offered to take a picture of us. We were pleasantly surprised by their kindness. They spoke to us in English. After taking our pictures, they helped us down the hill and we thanked them profusely. “It is our pleasure.This is for you ladies to know that we Austrian men are true gentlemen!”They said.  We thanked them again and continued our hike down.

Lunch~ At this moment, I was shivering for real. I couldn’t hike down with the group any longer, they were hiking at a snail’s pace. I was also hungry. I needed something warm and filling. I started to jog carefully down as the rocks were a bit slippery from the rain. I left the others and found a cozy looking restaurant close the tourist center. The price wasn’t bad, so I went in. “Hola!” I said to the waitress. I told her that I wanted something warm and nice. She gave me lentil soup and warm bread by the side. It felt amazing having that. I didn’t want to leave the place even after I had finished my food. I just sat there and let everything digest. Coincidentally some few minutes later,  Maryss and the girls from the group came to have lunch in the same restaurant I was in. They were pleasantly surprised and invited me to join their table. “Are you feeling better?” they asked looking concerned. I told them I felt amazing now, and I did. I decided to have lunch with them and it was worth it. The price, the quantity, the ambiance and the employees; it was just what I needed from my previous involuntary workout.

Heading out~ After lunch we all went to the meeting place, everyone from the palace were there. Our bus arrived and we finally headed to Lisbon. This was the city I was looking forward to during my entire trip. “God, please let it by sunny when we go out in Lisbon” I prayed.