Kiana and I got up early as usual had a quick breakfast and took the train to Sintra, another town in Portugal about 30 minutes away. Sintra is a mountainous fairytale town home to numerous peaks topped with castles and palaces. Our first stop was at Quinta de Regaliera (or something). This was my favorite stop of the day. Quinta de Regaliera was the home to a bizarre man with enough money to finance his crazy dreams. The top floor of his house was devoted to his alchemy lab while his palatial gardens were filled with caverns, tunnels, 27m spiral staircases into the Earth, secret doorways and numerous references to the occult. All in all, it was fascinating.
Kiana and I spent the better part of the day there exploring before we returned to town for lunch and to catch the hop-on hop-off bus tour through Sintra. On the tour we stopped at both Pena Palace and the moorish castle built in 800-900AD. Kiana and I returned to the hostel exhausted that night and spent the rest of the afternoon napping. We opted out of the communal hostel dinner that night, and instead ate a cheap meal in the town square at McDonalds. The food was about the same as in the US, only with minor differences. The fries were saltier, the ketchup (though it claimed to be Heinz) tasted a little off, and the burgers had mayonnaise on them. I bought a Coke with my meal and was surprised to learn that Coke in Europe contains real sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. It tasted noticeable different and better. On our way back from Mickey D’s Kiana and I bumped into one of the guys we’d met in the basement techno club from the night before, Nate. He was staying in a different hostel and they’d organized a pubcrawl. Kiana and I joined Nate for their pubcrawl for a bit and talked with him and his roommate Jana from Munich, who offered to let me couchsurf at her place when I was in town. Unfortunately, I left before we could exchange contact info. Back at our hostel, we went out with a handful of our fellow hostelers for sardines and celebrating in the street, as it was the start of the four day Sardine Festival.