I just got back from Portugal! I went with my parents for a 9 day trip around the country and had a blast. The weather ended up being a little cooler than anticipated, but besides that, it was glorious. I am so thankful for breaks away from work and experiencing new places. We took an overnight flight and then landed in Lisbon.
The first thing we did in the morning was go to LX Factory. This was an area of converted warehouses. We strolled through cafes, shops and street art soaking in the new place.
After we sent to Rossio Square, a main place in Lisbon. We had Pastels de Nata – a local custard treat, some cherry liquor, espresso and port. Already I was a happy camper.
We also walked down by the water where I snagged some sand to bring home to my collection! Here is an adorable picture of my parents. Aren’t they perfect?
Walking through Rossio revealed amazing architecture. If I had an elevator like this in Richmond, I’d take it everyday.
One of my favorite parts of the country were the tile sidewalk patterns. I love black and white (My entire house is decorated that way!) Each area we visited had their own unique styling. I can’t imagine the amount of effort it took to design things that way.
Talk about having a thing with floors!
Our second day, we went through Alfama, one of the oldest parts of town. We also saw the Belém Tower.
Across the street from the tower was Jeronimos Monastery. Here we found more glorious architecture and the grave of Vasco da Gama.
We traveled then towards the ocean to see the Palace of Queluz. This was a royal summer home. They strategically built the building to be cool all year long. And the ceiling you see with the honeycomb was in a room designed to remind you of a summer picnic. The ground on the outside were fabulous. The gardens and remnants of a zoo!
After the palace we went to the most Western point in all of Europe! It was windy and cold and really did feel like the edge of the earth.
That evening my mom and I went to the Red Frog Speakeasy. I loved both drinks I had and bought a menu to bring home.
The next morning we went to Obidos. It was gorgeous and probably my favorite town visually on the whole trip. The tiny medieval town has stripes painted on the edges of the buildings.
We had Ginja – the same cherry liquor we had in Lisbon – served in a little chocolate cup. This was way better than the kind we had tried two days before. The girl that served us also gave us some free homemade cookies and treats. They were so hospitable.
We got to the town so early in the morning that no one else was there. All the streets were empty and everyone was truly asleep.
Following Obidos was Alcobaça! This town is named for the two rivers that run into it. It also had some of the best tile work I saw in the country.
The church in this city was aptly name The Alcobaça Monastery. The outside was draped in baroque but the inside was simple and clean.
The highlight of this church was the graves of Pedro & Ines. These two lovers had a brutal ending and were described as the Romeo and Juliet of their time.
The next morning we left for Tomar. We saw Aqueducts that stretched for miles while heading toward the Covenant of Christ.
This place used to house the Knights of Templar. The architecture style is called Manueline and was very similar to the Belem Tower we saw in Lisbon.
Manuel was a king who dripped symbolism all over this building. A lot of the symbols were dedicated towards the navigators, ropes around windows & artichokes which prevented scurvy. I was happy to have someone there to help translate it all for me.
For lunch we went to Nazaré. This seaside down has some of the largest waves in the world.
There is a tiny lighthouse by the water that they converted to a surfing museum. Boards of surfers from around the world line the walls with stories of their large waves. You can walk up on the rooftop and watch the water race by.
We ended the day in Fátima – home of some miracles and a VERY LARGE sanctuary.
We walked around the grounds as a storm passed through. It was very cold so it was nice to retreat into a quiet building.
Off to Coimbra – first the university. The library we saw here was breathtaking. Th
e walls were covered on two levels with books. Supposedly there is a colony of bats living in there hiding during the day & dusting the books at night with their flapping wings.
The main area in Coimbra was small but the architecture was rich.
Then we headed to Porto! This town was amazing. Our botique hotel with delicious breakfast is below!
In Porto we did a tour of their Stock Exchange building before heading across the water to Gaia for Port wine tasting.
We went to Ferreira where we walked around on wood floors in cool dark room smelling barrels of wine rest. The tasting there was nice and the area around Ferreria had a great view back on the rest of the city.
Porto had a lot to offer. The main shopping street was fun to walk around with my Mom. The train station there was coated in blue tile and was far prettier than those in NY.
When we finally left Porto we went to the ancient town of Guimarães.
Driving through Portugal along the Douro, we saw the port grapes growing on the tall hills.
We went to another winery called Aveleda where we got to tour the grounds and sample their green wine. The property was gorgeous for strolling and the weather changed for the better while there.
The grounds had lovely little buildings that looked like they popped out of a fairytale.
For a quick stop we went to Belmonte where I climbed the roof of the castle at the top of the hill.
One of the highlights for me of the trip was learning about CORK! Honestly, I had no clue it actually grew in the form we see it in. I thought it had to be processed much more to be used. Boy was I wrong. The cork factory had stacks and stacks and was a joy for me to see.
That night we stayed in Évora at the cutest hotel. We did a walking tour of the city and I wish we had spent more time there.
The city had old Roman ruins and very confusing little streets! The above double window was the house where Vasco da Gama was born. It was cool to see both his home & his gravesite in one trip.
I also got to climb of The Cathedral of Évora. I have never sprinted so fast up such winding stairs but the colors and the sight was well worth it. I nearly lost my group on afterwards.
I finally met up with them outside the Capela dos Ossos. This chapel is entirely made up of bones. My dad and I were some of the only people in there for which I was thankful. I got to take my time and get some really cool shots.
Leaving Évora was hard but we started a slow track back to Lisbon.
In the afternoon, I took my family to Gin Lovers. The building this bar was in was exquisite. It had so much depth. We each enjoyed a different cocktail and relaxed. Then another party of our group happened to walk in and I actually got to quote Humphrey Bogart.
We took a slow walk back towards home enjoying the trollys, artwork and shops.
That night we had what we thought was going to be our last dinner overlooking the city. But – to our surprise our flights were cancelled due to snow on the east coast and we got to stay in Libson an extra day!
We started the day in Time Out Market getting some lunch and then my mom and I walked the six miles back to the hotel taking our time and getting side tracked by quirky shops.
My feet were tired by the time we had to leave Portugal but I am so thankful for this trip. To close out, here are some of the gorgeous tile patters that adorned the walls of buildings throughout the country.
I hope to return one day and do the Southern tip of Portugal and the Azores!