Regaleira - a Prepositional PlaceFebruary 26, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C
When we first lived in Mexico and started learning Spanish, we found that knowing prepositions really helped us out. When we asked people for directions, we now knew where we had to go. Our favourite prepositions included to, from, up, down, on, into, out of, under, over, onto, across, around, back. You probably know what words we are talking about.
So why am I mentioning those words here? Well, we went to a palace in Sintra called the Quinta da Regaleira and as we wandered through the gardens, every person we saw, including ourselves, had to make decisions about where they were going to next. Do we go up the stairs or down the stairs? Do we go into that cave or over the bridge? And the interesting thing was that that was how the gardens were organized. To put people in positions where they had to make choices - to go from darkness and confusion into the light.
In order to achieve this goal, the creators of the garden created a great collection of turrets, gardens, wells, towers, statues, dark grottos and tunnels, ponds and intersecting paths on the side of a steep hill. Plants and trees, both exotic and natural, were planted to obscure our views of where we were going to next. At times, the views would open up and we saw wonderful vistas. We spent 4 delicious hours exploring this 4 hectare maze.
In 1883, the property was purchased by a millionaire, Dr. Monteiro who was born in Brazil to well-to-do Portuguese parents. When he was a student, he went to Law School in Portugal at the University of Coimbra. He had a dream of creating a Mansion of Philosophy and hired Luigi Manini, a Italian architect, painter and scenographer (designed scenes for opera) to make his dreams a reality.
We didn’t have to walk very far to get to the Quinta and were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the grounds. We entered through a gate at the top of the property where a family of 5 people from France invited me to join their family so I wouldn’t have to pay for the entrance. There was a family rate for 6 family members. So thoughtful. Chris paid a seniors rate, so we both got in for 5 Euros! We had brought our lunch so it all worked out well.
It was so much fun, getting lost and then finding our way. While eating lunch, we watched as people made choices about ‘where to next?’. Heads turning in all directions and then moving on once a decision was made. That’s what life is all about. Making decisions and choosing the path to go on. Dark into light. Loved it.
Probably one of the most interesting spots was called the Initiation Well. We came upon a deep hole in the ground. Looking down, it reminded us of an upside down tower. We went down into the well using an immense spiral stairway. Once we reached the bottom, there was a system of dark, winding labyrinths which exit at various parts of the garden. I always carry my flashlight and Chris had his phone which we had to use to negotiate the tunnels. It was pitch black in parts and there were no lights. All we could hear were giggles as visitors felt their way around. And then there would be light with a surprising view. So cool.
We took so many photos of this beautiful place. I don’t envy Chris’ job of choosing which photos to put in.Read more