“I love how the city has continued to live its charm, how it still has that older authentic feel and how you can feel so happy just aimlessly wandering the streets. I love how each turn gives something more to admire. I love how the last thing on my mind was shopping , consuming ‘stuff’ just for the sake of it. I love how my attention just seemed to be captivated by the beautifully simple little things, watching the old packed tram go by, seeing the locals hanging their washing out of the window, the colourful street decorations, a traditional tiled building and the prettiest doorways and windows covered with bougainvillea. I loved all the delicious vegetarian places we found to fill ourselves with goodness, the parks we lay in and the warmth of the beautiful Portuguese people.”
It was time, time to live and experience what I had been dreaming about for the last however many months, to follow my heart’s desire to do what I love most…TRAVEL! And where better to start than my favourite European city…Lisbon! I still remember my first trip here, back when I had absolutely zero expectations and was blown away with a wonderful, busy, adventurous 24 hours. It was wonderful then, but this time I was able to share it with that someone special and have that little more time to explore. It seemed I was combining all the best parts of my old life with the best parts of my new life and it really was quite magical. In some ways, I even felt a little overwhelmed, with that dream I had been dreaming for so long (of travelling again, doing what I love so much, getting back to Europe to enjoy the start of summer) was coming into manifestation and naturally I wanted it to be the best as it could possibly be. Lisbon easily exceeded all of my expectations and with each day that passed, I fell more and more in love with this delightfully charming city. Here is a little insight into those 3 marvellous day’s we spent here and why I’m dreaming of returning…
We would wake in our ‘home away from home’ airbnb, this beautiful traditional 18th century apartment with views of the Lisbon rooftops glowing in the morning light, already with a full, happy heart. Our days would then consist of these unnoticed 20k walks, with it being so easy to keep wandering, every turn revealing more and more delightful sights. I found it such a joy to start our day on the cobbled and characteristic old streets of Alfama (note – it gets very touristic around here anytime after 10am, the first hours of the day the streets are empty all bar a few locals catching up on the local newspaper) or by wandering the pastel streets of the Castelo. On our first day we accidently stumbled upon the famous Elevator da Bica, we walked the streets of Barrio Alto searching record stores for Brazilian music and then found healthy vegetarian food in Principe Real. We found this bohemian rooftop bar where we sat down with a cerveja artesanal (that’s craft beer in Portuguese) where we sat and felt that incredible feeling of gratitude sweep over us as we took everything in. The following days saw us venture to Sintra, discover more vegetarian food and enjoy the never ending sights of those terracotta rooftops. Fortunatley, it was also the time of festas de Lisboa which saw the streets decorated with the colours of the rainbow, all ready for the evening where the streets came to life with pop up bars, such lovely time to be out and about. I never tired of wandering this place, I remember the last morning, trying and wanting to fit so much more in. I felt I had so so much more to do and see here which had me leaving with the biggest desire to return, soon, only next time for so much longer… Long enough to really live this city and explore so much more of this country.
Eat and Drink
- The Food Temple – This has to be the best place we ate on the whole trip, such a cute little Portuguese restaurant open for dinner only. Every day a new menu of delicious plant based food, a lovely relaxed atmosphere, lovely staff and exciting tasty dishes. Note, it gets busy so either book or go early, it’s also only open a few nights a week.
- Princesa do Castelo – Another tasty plant based find. This place also has a new menu daily and is open for lunch. A relaxed, easy, feel good atmosphere perfect for casual dining. They have an amazing local gluten free organic beer too.
- TOO Naturally Healthy Food – Oh wow, was I happy when we found this place. After a not so satisfying breakfast we discovered Too Naturally for lunch and all my food cravings were answered. Chia pudding, tempeh salad boxes, sweet potato brownie and kombucha yes please! I remember feeling so good and energised after eating this goodness.
- Lost in Esplanada – This is the bohemian rooftop bar I spoke about, a wonderful bar with a wonderful view.
- Ulysses Tasting Room – When you want a more intimate cocktail treat after the pop up street bars, this is your place. This is one of those bars that has a real passion for what they do, for good drinks and amazing service and it really did show.
Case Do Largo – Wanting to really get the Portuguese feel we went for an AirBnB, a traditional Portuguese home with the most incredible selection of Portuguese books (if only we had more time to read them) and the most incredible views. Set in the neighbourhood of Alfama, an easy walk to almost anywhere in Lisbon.