So, I’ve just come back from a few weeks of very exciting stuff. I have a few days at home before I’m off travelling for another 7 weeks! Then, another week at home for Christmas and I’m moving to Asia!! Very exciting times in my life right now.
I’ve been working hard all summer on the company and so to have some time off has been amazing. So far, we’ve been to Wales for 5 days, spent a few days in Canterbury, flew over to Bordeaux and then spent a week in Portugal – it was all so much fun.
Since Liv and I have been in Glasgow all summer, where the sun never shines, we decided we desperately needed a sunny holiday. We also wanted to explore a country neither of us had been travelling to. This is where Portugal comes in.
The plan was this; spend a couple of days in Porto, make our way down to Lisbon for a few nights and then relax by the beach down in Faro before we flew home.
Porto was our first point of call in Portugal. After a mad few days in Bordeaux (where I spent last summer working), we were excited to explore somewhere new and enjoy some cheap food and drink! We had two preconceptions of Porto; we would probably be expected to drink a lot of Port since Porto is where the drink originates and it would be beautiful weather.
Port is disgusting and it was raining when we arrived.
Despite that our expectations were far from true, we were pleasantly surprised by different parts of Porto. We got off the plane, headed in to the city towards our hotel and quickly dumped our bags to get out exploring.
Considering it was our one year anniversary that day, we had agreed to splash out on a nice meal as our gift to ourselves. After unsuccessfully eating at an excellent restaurant I’d found online (because people in Portugal don’t eat before 8pm), we decided to head for a drink before searching for another restaurant. Surprisingly, it was a struggle to find somewhere to have a drink in the city as we were more in the North side of it. However, we eventually found a nice place and settled down to drinks.
After our first pint, we were ready for a second, and because we were so hungry, we had to ask the bar if they had any nibbles. The language barrier was a bit of a problem but they asked us if we wanted Tremoços. Luckily, an American woman in the bar helped us translate that to Lupini Beans. Neither of us had heard of them, but we thought we’d give them a shot and I’m so glad we did, they were wonderful! Even though it was pissing it down with rain, we sat outside, drinking pints and eating Lupini Beans feeling amazing.
After our drinks, we went on our search for a restaurant to eat dinner and eventually stumbled upon Cervejaria Brasão Aliados. The meal was incredible. It was the best steak either of us have ever had and we just had an amazing time celebrating our one year anniversary doing something we love to do; eating great food and drinking great wine.
We woke up the next day a little rough, but headed out to explore the city and we were not disappointed. We spent our day just wandering and wandering, and opted to go on a walking tour in the afternoon which was excellent. Our stop for lunch was very interesting, as we tried a local delicacy, Francesinha. I’m still unsure how I feel about the dish, but it definitely helped soak up our hangover.
After lunch, we headed over to Gaia, which is a ten minute walk over the bridge that connects Porto to Gaia. We strolled along the riverfront, eating ice-cream and basking in the sun. It was perfection.
That night, our last night in Porto, we had a quiet one since we were so tired, had a few drinks at the riverfront, reflected on our time in Porto and just relaxed. We were definitely ready to leave the city by that point and even though we only spent two days there, we crammed a lot in. I’m so thankful to have gotten time to spend in the city and thoroughly enjoyed most of it (despite it’s hilliness).
Here are some photos of the beautiful city:
Lisbon was the next stop, and the stop we were most looking forward to visiting because we’d heard such great things about the city. It definitely met our expectations – we loved it! We had a beautiful ‘hostel’ right in the old town of the place with a balcony looking over a bustling restaurant street. When we arrived, we dropped our stuff in the hostel and headed out to get some lunch before exploring the beautiful city.
We instantly felt a lot safer and better than we did in Porto, and sat down in a little hipstery food market place to have some Chinese food. After we’d filled up on lunch, we started to head up to a few viewing points that were must-do’s on our map. This is when we realised how hilly Lisbon truly is. After walking up what felt like 150 stairs, and hills at a 90% incline, we finally made it to the upper part of Lisbon to explore.
The views were incredible! All of the colours of Lisbon were just amazing and we had already fallen in love with Lisbon a little bit. Around the upper area of Lisbon, Alfama and other neighbourhoods, there were lots of little lanes, cathedrals, churches and boutiques to explore.
We eventually settled down for an (expensive) drink overlooking the estuary coast and the rooftops of Alfama. It felt so nice to be relaxed and truly enjoying our holiday – this is what we’d imagined our holiday to look like.
The next couple of days were spent walking around the beautiful city, exploring all of it’s hills and little quirks. One of my favourite things to do when visiting a new city is just to walk and walk and walk. On our last day, we were able to go to the Saturday retro market which was great. People were literally selling absolutely everything you could imagine, from stalls as beautiful as this…
… to a man standing around with a pair of stolen shoes and a CD on a piece of cloth.
Another memorable part of our trip to Lisbon was the short tram ride out to Belém, a district just to the west of the city. The main attraction in Belém is the birthplace of the famous custard tarts of Portugal, Pasteis de Belém. After spending some time basking in the sun of Portugal, we went to the birthplace to enjoy one of these famous custard tarts. They were absolutely beautiful and I’d highly recommend visiting if you’re in Lisbon!
Overall, we both loved Lisbon and would definitely head back. Here’s my favourite photos of the city:
Faro was the last stop of our trip and we included it for a bit of a break at the end of our trip of exploring the two biggest cities in Lisbon. Faro was absolutely perfect for that.
Because it was a Sunday we were travelling, we had to get a relatively early train, so we arrived just after lunch. We had a spot of lunch and strolled around the picturesque streets of Faro in the beautiful sunshine. We walked towards the port and found there was a boat to a beach and hopped on it. The next few hours were spent at the beach, shoes in hand and just pure relaxing.
The last day of our holiday, my favourite day of the whole trip, we were originally planning to visit a different town near Faro. However, we decided the night before that we really just needed a chance to relax and so that’s what we decided to do. We’d spotted a roof-top bar whilst we were wandering around in the morning and decided to see if we could get up to it.
Luckily we were able to get up and the prices weren’t as ridiculous as they would be in Britain. So, naturally, we spent the entire day on this roof-top bar, looking out over the port of Faro, drinking cold beers and playing chess. It was the perfect way to end the holiday.
Here’s my fave photos from our time in Faro:
This trip was exactly what we needed after a long summer of having no time together because of the company. Especially since our summer was spent in Glasgow, the least sunny part of the world! So, all in all, Portugal was great and I definitely want to explore a bit more of it in the future.
À bientôt !