Oh Portugal. Oh Portugal. I am so excited to start sharing the images and beauty of Portugal with all of you. Spain had a beauty all it’s own, but to be honest Spain did not win me over the way Portugal did. I think by nature you connect better with one place over another. I loved so many moments during our time in Spain, but overall was not head over heels like I was with Portugal. I could spend years in this country, soaking up the color, water, sun, and coastal life of the Portuguese. Though I struggled with learning the language and understanding it, I still felt a deep connection to everything that was Portugal.
So, let’s kick it off with our first full day in Lisbon a city of color, tile, layers of stairs and buildings, and more.
Like any first day in a new city, Mike and I wanted to explore. The night before we had eaten an awesome dinner at Maria Do Carmo and the price difference of the north coast of Spain and Lisbon was a wonderful relief (aka it is much cheaper for some seriously great food). We couldn’t wait to get out and take in the architecture, streets, and life that Lisbon had to offer. So we went and got a little lost.
For the first day on our trip I was able to pull out my Everlane Leather sandals and I was so excited to let the streets of this gorgeous city break them in. So we grabbed our backpack that was filled with our camera and necessities for the afternoon and hit the streets of Lisbon.
The first thing we noticed about Lisbon was the change in architecture. The whole city is basically art. Everything from the tiles and color palettes on the buildings to the stone streets is purposely chosen. The one thing though is that the major downturn in the economy here has caused a lot of the architecture has become decrepit. Now that may sound bad, but I honestly was in love with how this city felt like a diamond in the rough. It had such deep, grungy character, and it felt imperfect in all the right ways.
The streets and sidewalks throughout the city have been created from square pieces of stone all placed in perfect patterns. That morning we saw them fixing some of the sidewalks, and it was pretty special to see how they hand laid the stones and filled them with sand. It was really a neat thing to witness especially since I kind of became obsessed with this type of aesthetic. I want to make a patio at our house one day like the streets of Lisbon and watch as moss fills the cracks. So beautiful!
Every street contained a new special detail whether it be a new tile design or a new style of door in a cool color. Inspiration was everywhere here. I could barely contain myself! I am not sure I can put into words how overwhelmed I was by Lisbon on that first day.
A major thing we were told to experience here was the tram cars that take people around the cities. They are an old tradition here in Lisbon (we saw them in other cities but they are most popular here). Everywhere you looked you saw tracks for the trams and they each were unique whether it be the color or the graffiti that was all over the fronts and backs. Mike and I just kept taking multiple photos because we thought they were so fun!
Just like any time you wander through a city (especially one as hilly as Lisbon) you get a little hungry. We came upon a place called Flower Power Food in the heart of the historic area outside of Barrio Alto. It looked like the perfect place to refuel. We ordered salad, quiche, and sangria.
Before we checked out the waitress told us we needed to try a piece of their chocolate flourless cake because she felt it was the best in the city. I had no idea that Portugal was so great at desserts, but I am glad I figured it out early because that cake blew me away.
If you are in the area you have to make sure to get a piece with some espresso here, because let me tell you, if you thought the city was amazing, the cake was just as amazing if not more so. It was light, perfectly chocolatey in all the right ways. It was melt in your mouth awesomeness. Yeah I would totally eat that again and again!
While being here we have found it easiest to just pay cash in order to avoid transaction charges and any other issues with our card. This means that you get a lot of coins, and before we left we made sure we had this pouch (made of Spanish leather!!!) from Everlane to help us keep our coins in one place. They can get heavy since the Euro has coined 1’s and 2’s as well as the smaller coins so the Everlane pouch saved us. It is a must to have something to carry change in if you are using cash.
Before we left we made sure to stop over in the restaurant’s flower shop to nab some pretty things for the apartment we had rented with Wes and Linda (I cannot wait to share how gorgeous this place was). It was really fun to find something to bring in to our space and make it feel like home for the few days we were there.
We slowly wandered back to the apartment and took in every detail we could. We had plans to enjoy dinner in that night since Wes had been so inspired by the food while we were in Spain.
Without a doubt Lisbon had already hit it on the head, but I think what I wasn’t prepared for in all of this was that this place would also inspire me in other ways. The Portugal chapter of our trip was just beginning and I was excited about a new view for the duration of our trip. Though Spain felt amazing and beautiful as I expected, I had been so excited about what I was about to experience while in Lisbon.
Already I felt ready to take in this country in a new way with new eyes. We ended that day feeling as if we won a prize by coming to Lisbon, and we felt so inspired.
Currently we are traveling back to the US and will be in late this evening in Raleigh, but there is still more to come so don’t expect all the posts to end 🙂 I mean we have not even shared Porto with yall! More beautiful things coming my friends.