Photo Journal: A Day Trip to Sintra, Portugal
Ever since Lisbon became a hotspot for traveling in the past year or so, I knew I had to get there ASAP and see the beautiful part of Portugal that was so hyped about. Thankfully, I was able to take a 4 day trip there, which allowed me to take in the city and even get in a day trip to Sintra.
Sintra is a 45 minute train ride away from Lisbon and is a magical playground of castles. Pena Palace is the colorful structure in at the top of the hill where you'll feel like you stepped into a fairytale. The Moorish Castle is an ancient ruin of a fortress that feels like the Great Wall of China, except in Portugal. And Quinta da Regaleira is an estate that has underground tunnels, spiral staircases, and beautiful buildings that make for an exciting place to run around.
There's not really too much to explain about each of these three locations, so I feel it's better to show rather than tell. This photo journal will give you a taste of what a day trip to Sintra can be like. Overall, it felt like a day of expectations vs reality. While all the structures were very epic, there were so many people there that it was hard to enjoy it without feeling like I was in a mob. There's also something a little heartbreaking about photos filled with people rather than letting the place feel untouched. I tried my best to shoot with the least amount of people in the shot as possible.
And then to wrap up the day, I was taking the train back to Lisbon and a man put his hands on my bare legs and was trying to talk to me, but I was not having it, especially after a long day. He kept asking me if I had a boyfriend and I asked him to leave me alone. He got up and walked away and I thought I was safe, but then 5 minutes later he came back over and say next to me again and would not leave me alone. This time I stood up to move to a different train compartment and he grabbed me as I tried to walk away. Thankfully it was a very loose grip and I could easily walk down the platform to try and find another car far away from him.
It's moments like this while traveling that makes me want to cry out of frustration. It's unfortunate that a woman can't even be on her own without a disgusting man ruining her day by touching or harassing her. In May 2016, I was touched on a train in Italy as well, and it was horrifying to know that men think they can get away with stuff like this. I arrived into London last week and was severely jet-lagged and looked like a right mess and a just sitting on the Tube when a guy slipped into the chair next to me to basically tell me to dump my boyfriend for him, even after I told him I'm not going to do that. It's sad that a man won't seem to take no for an answer. You used to be able to just say, "Sorry, I have a boyfriend," to get a guy off your back, but now that just seems to give them a challenge to overcome by saying your boyfriend wouldn't mind. It's not enough that we could just say something like, "You're disgusting and I'm not attracted to you," because they wouldn't seem to listen or care.
And the scary thing is, if you do say something rude back to them, there's the fear that they could hurt you for insulting their manhood, which is terrifying. It's bad enough that they think they're entitled to your attention just because you're a living, breathing, human woman, but then to try and make you smile for them or touch you without consent is so unfair that us female-bodied people have to endure in the world. And men get away with it all the time (*cough*thepresidentofamerica*cough*), so they think it's totally okay. It's really the most unfortuntate thing, but thankfully these sorts of things will not stop me from traveling and hopefully in the future it will only get safer for women to travel and be on their own.