Happy (belated) New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are excited about 2016.
I just got home from visiting my family and friends in France and I’m feeling all refreshed and ready to take on a whole new blogging year. Before we get back to the usual PM schedule though I just wanted to share some pics from my recent trip to Lisbon.
Lisbon has long been on my list of places to visit and I’m so glad my honey and I were able to go there this year. I was looking online for some potential last minute deals on New Year’s day and it was the first destination that came up! It was meant to be I think :)
The weather was a little rainy during our stay (always a risk when traveling in Winter) but we didn’t really mind as it was still warm compared to France and the city turned out to be as nice as we’d hoped. It also meant there were very few tourists around which was great. We spent 5 days in the capital and also went to the nearby town of Sintra which I’ll talk about in a separate post.
In the meantime, here are some pics of beautiful Lisboa!
The Castle Of Sao Jorge & The Alfama
On the first day, we headed to the famous castle of Sao Jorge which sits on top of a hill and overlooks the whole city. It’s a bit of a hike to get there (Lisbon is famously ‘hilly’ so I definitely recommend you pack some comfy shoes if you ever go there ;) but the view from the top is definitely worth it. You can also take a cute vintage tram up to the castle if you don’t feel like walking.
After touring the castle, we walked around the ‘Alfama’ which is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood. It’s made of many little narrow streets so we allowed ourselves to get lost for a while and came across many beautiful buildings in the process. Some were gorgeous, old crumbling homes whilst others were more recent and colorful. I especially loved the ones covered in ceramic tiles – so pretty!
On the second day, we decided to go to ‘Belem’ which includes several famous monuments. We started at ‘The Monument to the Discoveries’ and admired the view over the ’25 de Abril’ bridge (which looks very similar to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco) whilst walking along the waterfront. The sun made a quick appearance when we got to the ‘Belem Tower’ (you’d think it was summer looking at the picture I took) but then it started to rain so we ran to the Jeronimos Monastery.
Both the Tower of Belem and the Jeronimos Monastery are classified as World Heritage by the Unesco and it’s easy to see why. The monastery in particular is an architectural gem with carved limestone, elegant arches and amazing details throughout. The church next door is also breathtaking and well worth a visit.
After all this sight seeing we were in need of some coffee! And pastries of course, because if it’s one thing you should do whilst in Portugal it’s sampling as many of the amazing local pastries as you can. We stopped by the ‘pasteis de belem’ bakery which is famous for being the first to sell the now world famous Portuguese custard tarts. The tarts were fresh out of the oven and so delicious that I’m still dreaming about them. Paired with a strong cappuccino, it was the perfect end to our day.
Baixa, Chiado and Bairro Alto
Since we were staying for nearly a week, we decided to rent a little apartment via Air b’n’b rather than go to a hotel. The apartment itself was fairly simple but its location near the Rossio square was truly perfect and it allowed us to see a lot of the city by foot. The flat was also close to the Bairro Alto which is full of cool bars and restaurants. A few of our favorite spots were ‘The old pharmacy’, ‘By the Wine’, ‘Taberna da rua das flores’. We also had the ‘Mercado Da Ribeira’ nearby (an old market which was recently turned into a funky food hall) which became our go-to place for yummy snacks and quick lunches.
Mark fell in love with Portuguese Vinho Verde (‘green wine’ – which is made with young vines and is slightly fizzy) whilst I couldn’t get enough of the local cherry liquor Ginjinha (or ‘ginja’). Two famous little ginja shops happened to be on our street which proved to be both a blessing and a curse…
A fair amount of Portuguese custard tarts were also consumed during our stay but I somehow rationalized my daily consumption of pastries with the amount of walking we did everyday. Let’s not talk about all the cheese, fish croquettes, chorizo, smoked ham, and other yummy Portuguese specialties we ate that week though….