Just as we were leaving on holiday Melissa told us to check out the spiral staircase at the Palacio da Regaleira, so guess what Jim let’s add another 5000 or so steps to our day. It was just 10 minutes up the road and around the corner from our hotel. Yes I did say UP.
A glass of wine some beautiful cheese and salami and we were off. Being a little tired when we entered the Palace we forgot to get a map or ask for directions. How hard can it be to find a spiral staircase.
The palace was also know as the Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire. It is very magical with gargoyles, and turrets and best of all lots of tunnels. Little ponds and bridges turn the grounds into a fairy tale land. As we wandered around we realized we had no idea where the spiral staircase was. Finally we started following a sign that said “Well of Initiation”. At this point Jim was hoping to throw me in.
Of course there is another little sign pointing up another little hill and off I go. Jim decides that nope he has gone far enough, OK I said, see you in a bit. LOL he comes with me, at the top of the hill, there is this huge line up (maybe 100 people) and this circular hut looking thing. I ask the lady what it is, we do a little charade dance and head nodding, hopefully we are in the right spot, so we decide to line up. We kept watching all these people going in, but no one coming out. It was feeling a little creepy. But at least we were in the right spot.
The well is actually a spiral staircase that goes down 27 meters into the ground. The spacing and number of steps relate to Tarot mysticism. Now we know why no one was coming out. When you got to the bottom there were tunnels that led to waterfalls and little ponds with stepping stones across to magical bridges.
A wonderful day, back to our room for a little break and then off to dinner. I couldn’t bare to wander around, after a 19872 step day, looking for the perfect restaurant so seeing as we loved the place from the night before, we decided to go back. I had Jim’s curried prawns and pumpkin soup. Perfect. Off to the Algarve tomorrow and some well needed rest.