Pura vida: pure life
To put it simply, I loved my time in Portugal. My initial plan was to do two separate posts (one on my visit to Lisbon and the other on Porto) but I took far too many pictures and am really excited to share them, along with my thoughts. So there will be three posts for three full days in Portugal. My other posts on Lisbon and Porto can be found by clicking on the hyperlinks.
When I arrived in Lisbon, it was raining but thankfully the weather cleared up for the rest of the week! My amazing Airbnb host helped me find my way around and lent me a map with some guidance on things to do.
Most cafes and pastry shops in Portugal are set up almost like a 1950s American diner, with pastries lined up inside trays and stools for customers in front of the counter. Those ones in particular don’t appear to stand out against one another, though this is only the impression I had.
Choupana was an exception in that it is more of a hipster style cafe with a wide variety of sandwiches, bagels and drinks. I came back here quite often for breakfast as it wasn’t far from where I stayed.
I took the metro into downtown Lisbon. You know the cliche of having your breath taken away because you are so in awe of a place? I literally felt this when I walked into the main square (pictured below) and saw the ocean, something I had been missing immensely. The weather was a little warmer than Madrid, it bore a closer resemblance to the winters I experienced in Australia. It was so nice to be in warm sunlight, surrounded by a coastline. Right at that moment, Lisbon became one of my favourite cities.
I walked along the wharf past Cais do Sodre over towards Belem. Nearly everyone I spoke to that had been to Lisbon recommended that I see the Torre de Belem. Some photos from my walk below:
After nearly 6-7km of walking and not feeling 100% sure that I was in the right direction, I found the closest light rail station and hopped off near Mosterio dos Jerónimos, a UNESCO-listed monastery.
I opted for the free entry into the main section of the church:
I eventually found the Torre de Belem, which stood proudly alongside the water:
Inside the tower, you were able to see artefacts which date back to when the tower was used as a military base (including as a prison) though I think most tourists come to see views of the water from the top of the tower – I think I waited for nearly half an hour for this.
It was very crowded at the top so I didn’t get the ideal shots I wanted, but it was still great to see.
I later went back to Cais do Sodre to explore the Mercado de Ribiera, recommended to me by one of my flatmates. Time Out uses the facilities as a food court, where you can opt for snacks or a meal of a wide variety of food (Portguese, hamburgers, sushi, desserts, pizza, drinks, etc), generally at a reasonable price. Food in Portugal is very affordable!!
I ended up eating salted cod gratin mixed in a sauce (don’t remember which one), spinach and carrot. The dish looks odd but it was fantastic, as is seafood in Portugal. I came back to the market several more times!
More posts to come on Lisbon and my trip to Porto!