Happy Sunday (technically Monday here…)! Hopefully, I can brighten up the start of your week with some pictures of my recent trip to Portugal. Luckily, by the time of my flight I was feeling much better and for the most part, just suffered from a runny nose. I had a 4 day weekend to take advantage of, and I spent it in Lisbon and Porto. This was my first solo trip, so I made sure to do some before-trip planning to keep myself entertained and to make sure I could navigate from an airport to a hostel, from a hostel to a train station, from a train station to another hostel, and from a hostel to another airport. Planning a trip all on your own really makes you realize how much your parents had to do for family vacations! Portugal is a safe country, fairly inexpensive, not too hard to navigate, and many of the natives know English, so I wasn’t very worried about this trip. I think traveling solo offers you a lot more freedom. There are some downsides, especially when you’d like to have a sit-down dinner with friends, but I met some cool people and could do whatever I wanted when I wanted. Picture time (there are a lot)! Also, the title is the Portuguese word for “thank you” (not translated literally), which I heard ALL the time. But be careful because for men it’s obrigado! Here’s the reason why for all you linguistic nerds like myself.
To start things off… Here is a woman wearing socks with heels in an airport.
I started in Lisbon and was told I for sure had to try the pastel de nata. They’re basically these little custard tarts and are sooooo good.
Lisbon is reminiscent of San Francisco. You’ll start to see why. For one, there are little trolley cars around the hilly city. It’s basically a tourist attraction to ride this specific trolley through the city.
Took a walk around the city the night I got in, and the castle was all lit up.
Random metal dragon sculpture, but I dig it.
Also, a random metal rooster sculpture that rotated.
Continued walking around and stumbled upon this little market. Grabbed a sangria and walked through the city some more since street drinking is legal in Portugal.
I know I’m famous for my ceiling pictures, but I’ve moved on to ground pictures now. Seriously though, the tiled sidewalks were pretty cool!
Here’s some more.
And even more! Taken while walking hence the blurriness.
I was about to head in the for night, but before turning the corner to my hostel, I saw this lit up building in the distance. This is happens to be close to the main nightlife area of Lisbon.
Got up early the next morning to take a free tour. Funny story… Portugal is in a different time zone than Spain. Spain is an hour ahead. I switched my watch, but my phone never changed over. Set my alarm on my phone. Showed up an hour early for the tour. So I chilled out with a hot coffee. My dad would be so proud how early I got up.
Look at that depth of field guys! All with an iPhone (don’t mind me… just the camera nerd inside talking).
I was so excited to finally see some water!
Just a glimpse down a street in Lisbon. Some of the buildings are really bright colors and some of the streets are pretty steep.
So I love this statue. Also, caught my tour guide in this flattering shot. Basically, this statue is of a guy (António Ribeiro) who would make fun of the king on the street. One day the king finally came to listen to him and loved his jokes. He became the court jester and besties with the king. This neighborhood is also named after him. Well, it’s named after his nickname, which was Chiado. “Chiado” is a sort of squeaky noise, and apparently this comedian would commonly make these sounds.
This picture doesn’t look like much, but it’s what remains of a burned down convent. Lisbon suffered a terrible earthquake in the 18th century. The earthquake (almost a 9.0 in magnitude) happened on All Saints’ Day, a day when many candles are lit for the dead. Well the earthquake caused these candles and lanterns to fall over, oil to spill, and a massive fire to start. On top of that, everyone who ran to the river to escape the fire was then met by a typhoon. Also, the only people to survive? The non-Christians. Which led to a major change regarding belief in what caused these disasters (God vs. science).
Fun fact! In this arch, the woman represents power and the man wisdom. Though some would argue the woman represents both 😉
A local wash basin. This is found in the old neighborhood of Alfama. Most of the city was reconstructed and reorganized following the earthquake, but this poorer neighborhood was overlooked. Things run very much the way they did years ago. There is a strong sense of community still, and places like the wash basin are important for maintaining this sense of community.
Still couldn’t get over how you could turn around and see the ocean.
Our tour finished with an amazing view. And it cleared up and was such a beautiful day for this photo!
Made a pit stop in San Francisco. Though I really think you could trick people into believing this is the Golden Gate Bridge from the right angle.
Okay, back to pastel de nata. This is the most famous place for this dessert. I have to admit… the first place I went to (suggested by a friend) was actually better, but I had to stop here too. So back in the day, a monastery in a town called Belém which is just outside Lisbon would use egg whites to starch clothes. Then with the remaining yolks, they would make pastel de nata. Long story short, the monastery was closed because of religious revolutions, the recipe was sold to a sugar refinery, and to this day, they still hold the secret recipe.
Here’s the aforementioned monastery.
Gotta love those ribbed vaults.
I ate a bagel while enjoying this lovely day. I was very content (bagels are rare in these parts).
I also visited a Modern Art museum. Mostly to make fun of pieces like this that any one of my 1st graders could reproduce.
Here is the Tower of Belém. It had to do with a defense system back in the day, and sadly, I don’t know much else about it. Mostly stopped by to take a pic.
How I managed to take this picture with basically one person in it is amazing because there were people all over the place.
Ventured back into Lisbon and found this cute little food market.
Here is one of the oldest, still operating barber shops.
And here is the oldest, still operating bookstore. No joke!
And here’s the plaque to prove it.
Went into a shopping center, went down a floor, and found this. Somehow I didn’t realize until now that it’s a fish. I think it’s one of those pieces of art you really have to step back to fully see.
This was also down there. Not really sure what was going on.
Went back upstairs and found a bookstore. And then promptly found the DSM in Portuguese.
Ended my travels in Lisbon with some really good gelato! Chocolate and hazelnut are a good combo.
Next stop was Porto after a 3-hour train ride. It’s a very rainy city. Even rainier than London!
I had a short amount of time in Porto, so I knew I had to squeeze in as much as possible. After checking into my hostel, I zoomed over to the Casa da Música and made it just in time for a tour.
The place was designed by Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas, and with a name like that, I think you’re obligated to be an architect. He took everything into account when designing this place both artistically, acoustically, and structurally.
There are many different rooms in this place, and this one was covered in tile portraying Dutch and Portuguese scenes. It’s a bit disorienting to look at.
Another room featured a gamelan, which is traditional ensemble music in Indonesia made up of mostly percussion instruments. I also knew this beforehand thanks to a world music course I took!
Even more disorienting walls.
There are so many shapes and colors all throughout this building.
And even more… This wall is actually squishy.
Even the outside of the building carries on this theme of curves, textures, and patterns. Apparently, the skateboarders love this place.
Here’s the outside of the building, feat. sun flare.
All right, back to the main part of the city. This is one of the first things I saw once getting off the metro, and I don’t entirely know its purpose.
I call this photo, “This is why we don’t take panoramic photos with moving cars in them.”
Definitely went to the top of this! The staircase gets pretty scary near the top, so I don’t recommend it to those with a fear of heights.
I love these views! So great to get a feel for the city.
On my way down, I spotted this rooftop park.
A very famous bookstore in Porto. J.K. Rowling was inspired by this bookstore, and it influenced her design of places like Diagon Alley.
It really did feel pretty magical.
And of course I eventually gravitated to the Harry Potter section (this was before I even knew about J.K. Rowling visiting here).
I did know that J.K. Rowling wrote the beginnings of Harry Potter in the Majestic Cafe, so of course I wanted to visit! And guess what “fechado” means? Closed. Looked like the whole place was being remodeled.
One of five billion churches in Porto. Think it needs more gold.
A super old house from the 13th century or something. Still standing today…
Took another free tour (I basically do for any city I visit). Pictured here from left to right is: a guy from Germany who looked exactly like Andy Samberg, a woman who gave us chocolate cake, and my sarcastic, Portuguese tour guide (we got along pretty well).
About 2/3 of the way through, decided I should probably take a picture of the delicious cake we got. Normally the cakes aren’t sold by the slice, but we got a special deal.
Some super cute restaurants along the River Douro.
Bridge connecting Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia where Port wine is stored and aged. The wine is harvested and made in the Douro Valley then taken to Vila Nova de Gaia. That little boat is used to transport casks of wine.
Took a tour and had a tasting at this winery. Discovered that I REALLY like Port wine.
After a massive downpour, I stumbled upon these rainbow doors. After that, it was time to check out and head back to Madrid. These were two great cities I would definitely recommend to visit!
Also, a very happy birthday to my grandma! She’s probably my blog’s biggest fan, and I thought what better way to honor her than to make a post on her birthday. Feliz cumpleaños, abuelita! Miss you 🙂