Hello, beauties! And happy Monday! Welcome to the first post of 2019! I’ve been wanting to get you a recap of my trip to Portugal for some time & now is the perfect time to help us warm up. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Portugal quiet a few times, my mum was born there & moved to the States in 1981. We still have family there making this country near & dear to my heart. This trip was super special because it was my husband’s first time & I went with my entire family (9 grown adults, not too many dysfunctional moments #blessed). I’m very close to my siblings & it was the first time we’ve been in our favorite vacation spot in SO long. Anyway enough of the back story let’s get to it, shall we?
Our total trip was a duration of 2 weeks, 1 in the Lisbon area & the 2nd in the Algarve. We flew in & out of Lisbon. I’ve spent some time trying to figure out how to deliver this to you & I think the best way to break it up was by the weeks.
Week 1 we spent in the Lisbon area. The majority of our family is in Lisbon but there is this beach town right outside Lisbon about a 15 minute drive of the 25 de April Bridge, Costa de Capirica. We rented a couple of apartments a short walk from the beach through AM Palma . We’ve been renting apartments from this family for years, they aren’t anything “sexy” but the location is great. Like I said just a walk away from the beach or the boardwalk filled with cafes, restaurants, & shopping. We were even able to watch the fishermen bring in their fish almost every night!
The first day was spent settling in & recouping from jet lag. Day 2 I started with a run, torrada com manteiga (toast with butter), & a strong coffee. We hosted our Portugal family for a lunch of chicken, rice, potatoes, & french fries with salad. After hours of good food, conversation, & espresso. A few of us headed into Lisbon to see my Titio (uncle) & Avo’s (grandfather) favorite soccer team, Sporting play. It was very interesting there was no alcohol served in the stadium, there was plenty of tailgating at bars & alcohol trucks but everyone was relatively calm compared to attending a sports event here. This was the day we discovered prosciutto flavored chips which were game changing.
Day 3 we spent time at the Tower of Belém & the Discoveries Monument. It is one of my favorite places in the city. The view is breathtaking as it is right on the water not to mention the world map in-front of the Discoveries Monument made out of cobblestone. There is also a beautiful park & the Jeronimos Monastery which is simply beautiful. I wasn’t able to enjoy this day as much as the slipped disk in my back was acting up, I was down for 1.5 days. Another spot I highly recommend but wasn’t able to visit because of my back is Pasteis de Belém which has the best pastel de nata I’ve ever had.
Day 4 I spent in bed on foreign muscle relaxers at the care of my amazing husband while the rest of the gang enjoyed Sintra, the colorful castles. After getting some much needed rest Day 5 we went to the wonderful village of Tomar. The castle here is absolutely stunning housing a portal to the 5th dimension, many monks, & the Knight’s Templar. The structure & details are just amazing. After browsing the castle we walked through the town, enjoyed the park, & an afternoon drink. If you have been following me for some time you know I don’t drink beer, just not my cup of tea. I found myself drinking a lot of rosé & caipirinhas (straight up sugarcane alcohol that goes down way too easy) for dinner red wine or sangria.
Day 6 we headed to Sesimbra for some more castle chasing & amazing seafood. This castle wasn’t as restored as Tomar but was still cool to check out plus the view of the ocean was absolutely stunning. For lunch we had this amazing crab drip followed by sardines with veggies.
The 7th day of vacation was my sister’s birthday! We ended up just hitting Lisbon for some shopping & exploring during the day specifically around Chiado. During the evening we attended a Fado performance which was under a park that we visited frequently growing up in the water cistern. Fado is soul music of the Portuguese it literally gives me goosebumps it’s so moving. We then enjoyed a lovely family dinner at an Alentejo inspired restaurant.
It was a great first week full of exploring, good food & drink, espresso, adventure, & family. I am missing it dearly & would highly recommend paying this beautiful country a visit! With all the walking I tried to stay hydrated with water as much as I could & also brought a banana with me everywhere we went. Breakfast was typically toast or a croissant filled with ham & cheese. Lunch & dinner where a mix of my favorite fish dishes either salmon or sardines or meat which was either a bitoque which is steak with an egg or pork Alemtejana which is pork with clams.
We hopped around with a couple of rental cars but I’ve also taken the public transportation many times by either bus, metro, cab, or boat. One my favorite moments was being with my husband & family grabbing a glass of rosé in a park over looking the beautiful city of Lisbon.
I hope this post gives you a good idea of what it’s like & inspires you to go! Next week we’ll chat about our week in the Algarve, it was my first time there to that area so stay tuned.