Olha Como a Vida é Boa - Lisbon, Portugal
April 22 - Bom Dia!
We arrived in Lisbon, Portugal after a quick one hour flight from Madrid, Spain. The flight itself was rough and choppy, which resulted in a little bit of motion sickness on my part. We nonetheless, arrived safely at Lisbon airport and were in great spirits. I was excited to catch up with my fav Portuguese local, and to be spending the weekend in this beautiful city.
First stop: lunch! We headed directly to Sea Me, a Japanese and Portuguese fusion restaurant. Upon arrival, we were whisked away to the basement of the restaurant, where a gentleman introduced us to the different varieties of seafood offered at the restaurant. He was not shy to pull the lobsters out of the tanks, nor did he hold back from answering our questions.
That dish that looks charred to a crisp is actually seaweed wrapped fish. So good.
We were spoiled with the freshest and most flavorful seafood I've ever eaten. As a side note, I finally tried raw oysters for the first time and was amazed at how good it tasted. I was very impressed. Sea Me definitely tops the list as one of my favorite restaurants in Portugal.
Hotel - NH Collection Lisboa Liberdade
After lunch, we ladies retreated to our hotel, the NH Collection Lisboa Liberdade, where we spent a relaxing afternoon on the rooftop. The view was breathtaking and surreal, and we were able to see the clay rooftops for miles. I was seriously in heaven. The weather and the cocktails made for the perfect afternoon in Lisbon.
Can you believe that this is the view from the rooftop of our hotel? Me neither.
Cheers to the best girls European getaway!
Rossio Square/Restauradores/Praça do Comércio/Lisbon Baixa
After settling into our room, we decided to go out and to explore the city. Having a free afternoon to ourselves, we decided to walk down the main walkway parallel to our hotel and found ourselves in the center of Lisbon. We spent a little bit of time walking around Rossio Square, Restauradores, Praça do Comércio, and Lisbon Baixa. The period buildings and beautiful tiles were so impressive. It was a struggle to keep my camera down...haha.
If there's anything that a photographer loves more, it's a clear shot like this.
My favorite street view of Lisbon by far. Just look at that hue of pink on that building!
I challenge you to a Where is Waldo Challenge: Find the creepy bride street performer in the pic.
Praça do Comércio
I absolutely loved the Portuguese tiles. If only I had more time to track them all down! Here are a few of my favorites:
Castelo de São Jorge
This was a highly recommended to go watch the sunset. Little did we know that it would be quite the steep hike up to the Castelo de São Jorge. As someone who wore a thick knitted sweater and black pants onto the hike, I was sweating profusely. Despite the heart racing climb, I really enjoyed seeing all of the graffiti art on the way up.
Favorite graffiti art.
We made it to the castle sometime after 7pm, just in time to witness the sunset. I'll never forget the view. It was the most magnificent sunset that I've ever seen in my life. I still remember leaning over the wall to hear the soft breeze, and watch the airplanes take off in the distance.
Best city view and sunset by far.
Just look at that sunset!
Before leaving, we came some across wild peacocks and stray cats. It was random, but nonetheless, a pleasant surprise. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea that peacocks could fly until that night. It was the most mind-boggling thing to see it in person.
After watching the sunset at Castelo de São Jorge, we went back to the hotel to clean up before dinner. Having heard great things about Palacio Chiado, we decided to make it a night on the town and dress up for dinner. The gastronomic destination definitely did not disappoint. With so many culinary and drink experiences, it was truly a foodie's dream. Although we were only planning on staying there for a little bit, we ended up staying there for several hours. I really enjoyed their Kiwi Mojito, which was fruity and tart. Overall, the vibe and the service was top notch, making it for a very good dining experience.
I don't know why, but this room reminds me of the Titanic clock staircase.
The entire building was so amazing. Just look at that gold lion!
Bartender's choice cocktails.
Thanks to our server for taking care of us! Really great food, drinks & service. Clean up crew part 1.
Clean up crew part 2. Not too shabby for a Saturday night, eh?
Afterwards, we headed to Red Frog, a speakeasy for mellow vibes before calling it night. Red Frog was more subdued than Palacio Chiado, which was a nice change of scenery. Their cocktails were as refreshing as they were beautiful. After staying out all day out, it was finally time to call it quits.
April 23 - Praia, Praia, Praia
A Ginjinha Espinheira
Post lunch, I suggested that we try the ever so popular, Ginjinha, or "Ginja" for short. Ginja is a dark Portuguese liquor with soaked cherries inside. You can opt to take your shot with or without cherries. While I'm no liquor connoisseur, the consistency and sweetness of the shot reminded me a lot of Disarrono. I made the mistake of eating the cherry all in one go and was in for a sour surprise. While the flavor of the liquor wasn't exactly my favorite, I felt indifferent about the taste of it. I say if you're curious on your trip to Lisbon, you should just go ahead and check it out.
Faz bem ser o sorriso de alguém. 🙂 Cheers to the best lil' Lisbon bunch!
Jerónimos Monastery/Padrão dos Descobrimentos/25 de Abril Bridge/Torre de Belém
Moving onward with our itinerary, we hit the road and headed westward. Beautiful views awaited us on the westside of Lisbon as we explored the coast. The architecture was breathtaking. I couldn't help but be in awe at the concentration of buildings and monuments all in one place.
Details, details, details.
Golden Gate bridge, is that you? Nope, just the 25 de Abril Bridge.
I loved this. Clever details and placement of people and symbols.
My favorite part of this stop was staring out into the distance of the Tagus River, and just looking off into the distance at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument and the 25 de Abril Bridge. I felt at peace standing in the midst of the warm Lisbon sunshine combined with the cool spring breeze blowing through my hair. Everyone was in great spirits and it was nice to stroll along the edge of the river.
I caught this shot when it was slightly overcast. It looks pretty daunting!
It's crazy what a little sunlight can do!
Pastéis de Belém
This was by far, one of the most highly anticipated stops on our trip. I had been waiting to try the ever so popular, Pastéis de Belém, for a long time. Every blog, YouTube video, and travel booklet that I've read, raved about this egg custard tart. Not only did I get my hands on one pastry, but I felt a little ambitious and opted for two...hahah greedy.
Turkey has Salt Bae. Portugal has Pastéis Bae.
If I could, I'd probably eat them all. If you know me, you know I'm not joking.
Bring this tasty pastry to America, please.
Honestly, no regrets. The bakery was very busy with locals and tourists alike waiting to get their hands on Pastéis de Belém. I tried my first pastry with a dash of confectioner sugar and some cinnamon. The egg custard tart was moderately sweet and paired well with espresso. The outside of the pastry comprised of a crispy puff pastry, while the inside was filled with a custard-like filling with an almost caramelized top from baking process.
Cabo da Roca
All I can say is that this was my favorite place in Portugal. Cabo da Roca, also commonly referred
to as the westernmost point of Portugal and continental Europe, had the most amazing beach sunset.
Although the drive out there was a bit rough with all of the winding roads, it was worth it. Even the
cactus like flowers and plants growing on the coast were beautiful. While we couldn't stay there very
long due to the high winds and the significant drop in temperature, but I will never forget that view.
It was absolutely magical.
Cue L's rendition of "The Hills Are Alive".
Welcome to Cabo da Roca. Home of the dreamiest sunsets!
I shot this from the car on the drive back to Lisbon.
Beautiful flowers along the beach.
Dinner time crept on us pretty quickly as we made our way back to Lisbon. I was looking forward to
a more traditional Portuguese culinary experience, and 100 Maneiras definitely delivered. While I can't
recall all of the dishes by name, each and every single morsel of food was satisfying. It was the
perfect way to end our last night in Lisbon. Amazing food, great wine, amazing company, and good
conversation made for a lovely dinner.
The wall lobby of 100 Maneiras (translated into "100 Ways").
Prior to the trip, I had seen a lot of hype through social media, primarily Instagram. Maybe I was tired or out of it, but at this point in the trip, I was ready to go home and sleep. The street and the bars were still bustling on a Sunday night, which was surprising. The buildings along the street were filled with street art and unique art installations, one of which was a "gang" of mannequins on some wooden rafts getting ready to "tag the building", which was interesting. We stayed there maybe a total of 15 minutes before deciding to call it a night.
April 24 - Adeus!
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
After a casual lunch, we strolled over to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara for one final view of
Lisbon. It was the perfect snapshot to remember the city by. Of course, nostalgia began to
sink in from all of the memories of the trip. By that point, I knew it was time to say goodbye.
Like all visits, this one too, finally came to an end. Portugal, by far, was my favorite part of our
vacation, winning hands down in the categories of people, food, and coastal views. I am so
grateful to have been among some of the most enjoyable company throughout my travels. Being
able to bond over wonderful conversations and culinary experiences made the trip even more memorable.
Special thanks to the lovely Mr. G for being an amazing host, destination expert, sightseeing buddy, and local tour
guide. I really appreciate him helping us to build an amazing itinerary, hanging out with us, and making
the our visit seamless. 5 out of 5 Yelp star rating! Thank you so much!
April 25 - Homebound
This day was probably the longest day of my life. It took us 17 hours to fly home, including our
layover and customs clearance. Jet lag slammed me hard that day, and continued for another three
days afterward. The not so fun joys of traveling that nobody ever writes about. Anyway, it feels good
to be resting at home and to regroup after a relaxing vacation.
I know a few of you are planning on traveling abroad within the next couple of months. If you have any
questions about any of the places that I mentioned, feel free to leave a comment down below or message
me via Twitter @Tran_gerine. If you'd like to check out my day-to-day shenanigans, you can connect
with me via Instagram @Tran_gerine. If you like mellow jams, I recommend this cute song by Mafalda
Veiga titled, "Olha Como a Vida é Boa", which roughly translates to, "Looks Like Life is Good". Until
next time. See you all on the next adventure!