One of our favorite traveling tricks is to take a trip within the trip. We leave most of our things at our apartment, book a second AirBnB apartment somewhere nearby, and take a vacation! It sounds expensive, but it’s not: you often get a discounted rate when booking for a week or more, so there’s some wiggle room already, and then you can kind of lower your standards if you know you’re only staying for a couple nights somewhere.
This past weekend, we stayed in a sweet little attic apartment in Colares (at $70 / night), a tiny town outside of the small town of Sintra about an hour northwest of Lisbon, along the coast. That’s not Colares itself in the picture above, but nearby Praia das Maçãs. Colares is just about five minutes or less inland.
When we mentioned that we had been to Sintra previously, and had enjoyed the sprawling, mystical Quinta da Regaleira estate, our AirBnB host casually mentioned “oh yes, I grew up there, it was my family’s home. I ran around there as a child.” Umm…wanna spend the next three hours with us telling us stories, cause that sounds awesome!
The beaches were epic, which was good luck for us with the 85° days we had.
I’ve always wondered at the ubiquity of children’s interest in making dams and diverting water: there must be some important evolutionary advantage to it, it’s so universal. Thus, no surprise that when Zev discovered a small rivulet of fresh water coming off a hillside onto the beach, it transformed into hours of play, creating a sand city with reservoirs, dams, bridges, and rivers. I rustled up some hollow bamboo from down the beach to add pipes and waterfalls, and Zev dug into the nearby hillside to excavate clay, which was used to line the bottom of the reservoir and cement the bamboo into place. Good times.
On our last day, we followed a meandering path that left town, ambled through the woods and eventually led us to another, even smaller town further up into the hills. It felt like a walk back through time (and I was able to divert Zev’s role playing from Star Wars to Gandalf and Bilbo, which seemed to fit the atmosphere better.)
All in all, a great respite from the buzz of the city.