Rick Steves had this one wrong. The palace interior has been reconfigured so many times it’s lost it’s charm, but the grounds are pure magic.

I’ve had dreams about tunnels, caves that never end, being lost as I crawl through smaller and smaller crevices in the dark, so it took courage to wind my way through the tunnels of Quinta de Regaleira.

With cave walls closing in, I followed closely behind two women with a cell phone as a flashlight. After a couple curves, we found ourselves in the side of a well, with stairs winding both up and down around the inner walls. We climbed to the top, sure there would be an escape, but we stepped out onto a tall bank. Dreading the return through the wet tunnels, I pushed against heavy concrete rectangles that looked like they could be doors. The third one moved easily as I pushed against it–a hidden doorway! I got to be hero for a moment as we embraced the sunshine. What a setting. Now we just need a character. Leda will do…

Leda sits at the entrance to her cave, goose biting at her thigh, bird in her hands, and the question that’s been visiting me often this week appears again. What’s her story?

It’s a good question. Give it a try.