In the morning, we got moving at the more or less planned time, drove through some beautifully winding tropical roads and parked at the top near Pena Palace.
We stood in line like chumps to buy entrance tickets for 10 minutes before the cashier saw us at one of the cue bends and announced to everyone to let us pass because baby. Score!
Upon entering the park, the first sign we see is “Queen Amelia’s Garden”. Right on.
We also see a sign that it’s another 800m up a very steep hill so begrudgingly we tread on.
But once we get there, all our complaints are out the window. This. View. Was. Unbelievable.
It legitimately felt like we walked into Disneyland but the thought that this was a real castle built for a real king, and not concocted for the amusement of tourists, was insane.
After touring as much of it as we could without going inside, we started our trek across the mountain to get to the Moors Castle of the 8th century. Although only 200m or so to the entrance, it’s another 500m to the checked gate, and then only 860 or so steps to climb the perimeter of the castle.... with no railings. This was super fun while juggling a baby and doing squats to keep her calm. She did fall asleep eventually and it all became a lot easier... as much as it could’ve been with that many steep steps in the heat. But the views went as far as the eye would go and you could really understand why this was an excellent defence placement.
After finishing up, it was a dreadfully slow climb, but we now had to climb back up the mountain to get to our car.
On our way out of Sintra, we stopped in Cascais for dinner but decided to skip our original route of doing the coastal drive and just do the 3.5 hour drive directly to Lagos.
Most people will probably recoil at this story, but we felt ok so we went ahead with it: We sat down on a patio and Chubz decided to vocalize her displeasure. Her fit included everything from the soother constantly falling on the ground (the restaurant greeter kept grabbing and running off to wash it before I even had a chance to blink and bend over in order to pick it up), to not letting me sit to eat my meal. Because who doesn’t want to be doing squats after the day we had?! The servers all continued to coo and caw at her and bring her blankets to protect her from the coastal winds, or sing to her, or they all practically threw themselves at her for her smiles. Here’s the kicker: one of the servers ended up taking her and spent TWO HOURS wandering around the little nearby shops with her. They played with the hanging scarves, the little windmill houses, other various nicknacks at the store, and even bananas. These things kept appearing on our table because the server would buy them for her if it so much as made her giggle. We ate our meal in peace while this complete stranger babysat our baby. We debated if we should be worried but decided we know where she works and we could mostly see them at all times. At the very end as we were paying, I finally understood why Chubz was so calm with this girl.... she was singing her russian lullabies!! The very same ones I grew up on. It was a very precious afternoon and this staff definitely earned their tips!
Proof that Chubz had a catnap in between dinner and our drive home. Look at that sweet face when it's calm.
The drive to Lagos could’ve been better but the child ceased all screeching the second we got checked in so off to bed we all went.