TRIP RECAP Part 1/3 :: LISBON
Part 1 : Finding the Parties and Hunting for Snails in Lisbon
Well HI there! I’m so excited to be recapping this incredible trip on the blog today! This week I’ve gotten back from what we’ve decided was the trip of a lifetime. I went on this crazy adventure with my best friend and college roommate Isabel Steen, who just graduated with her Masters from Wash U in St. Louis (Masters in Social Work I AM SO PROUD) so this was a bit of a pre-job post-grad adventure for her. And honestly, it was the first time I’ve seriously stepped away from my inbox and shipping desk since starting my business. I think the trip came at the perfect time for both of us and I would SUPER highly recommend both Portugal and Morocco to anyone who will listen.
We travelled Portugal for about five days on our own, and joined up with a group tour through Northern Morocco with Intrepid Travel for 8 more days. We tacked on a couple extra days in Marrakech after the group tour wrapped just to make sure we had seen everything and shopped everywhere!
So without any further ado, here’s a recap of our time in Lisbon! This Recap will be broken into three posts so it isn't TOO gigantic : this one for Lisbon, one for Lagos, and one for Morocco!
So we started and ended in Lisbon, with a trip to Lagos in the middle. We had some incredible food, stayed at an amazing airbnb, and did a lotttaaaa walking. None of this is sponsored, and all of these are the places we really went.
We spent one night at the Dream Chiado Apartments in the heart of Chiado - super clean, really convenient to the trendy Chiado neighborhood and super well stocked!
We can’t say enough good things about Isabelle’s Airbnb. She herself is a true gem - welcomed us lovingly and sat us down with a guide book to lay out a perfect Lisbon itinerary. All of our favorite spots ended up being from her recommendations. She left fresh food for us, spoke perfect English and could not have been more welcoming. Two-story airbnb with a queen bed and pullout couch. We LOVED IT.
Gorgeous building. Gorgeous view. Fun drinks and delicious food. Absolute must-do! Photo evidence:
MUST DO. Magical. An honest-to-god palace of gastronomy, reimagined to be multiple dining experiences within one restaurant. Six restaurants in one. Couldn't recommend it more. Delicious, magical, super special. I didn't take enough photos here, but check out their website to get a better sense of the magical atmosphere!
So this one is a little tricky and we definitely were floating 100% on blind trust in Isabelle (airbnb host), but it was totally worth it. This spot is a small, local, super friendly Portugese hidden gem. Isabelle told us exactly what to order (sea bass (robalo)- grilled open, veggies, dessert, white wine), and we followed her instructions to the letter. We got there right at 7:30 when they opened and nabbed a table before they filled up. We met one Canadian couple there, but otherwise felt like dining at a truly local and very Portuguese spot. It was a great deal, delicious, and a perfect way to kick off our evening.
Getting there: the address is Travessa do Sequeiro 38, but you won't see some big sign or even a restaurant name. Don't take the tram, just walk down the steps until you reach the address. The door is around the corner, sort of along the side street. Best of luck!! (Sorry totally forgot to take photos here)
I should probably let Isabel write this part as this was entirely her adventure...but the power would surely go to her head. So alas you’re still stuck with me.
Important precursor to this part of the story : Isabel is a champion adventurous eater. Nothing scares her. Snails didn't make her blink. She had done her research, and had learned that in Summer, snails (or Caracois, as they are called in Lisbon) are a Portuguese delicacy and must-do. According to her findings, countless bars and seafood restaurants would have a printed sign in the window to let passerby know they were available. We were bound and determined to find one of those spots.
I'll spare you all of the pitiful details, but after LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of hunting (is June not considered Summer? Were we in the wrong area? Not sure. But let me tell you, the city was not OVERRUN WITH SNAILS as we had been led to believe), we finally found that precious window sign at Oliveira Sucessores, an otherwise nondescript café near the water. Snails and Fanta were had. Isabel was in Heaven. I was scarred forever. (Just kidding - they actually just tasted like butter and garlic and all the good stuff they're cooked in....but with a very snail-y texture). Please note how very thrilled and also smug Isabel looks in the photo below.
A great find! We didn't actually eat a meal here but it has a great atmosphere and so many delicious-looking options. OKAY OKAY FINE we did eat gelato here. Because of course we did.
Delicious! Amazing! Gelato! Need i say more? Super good. Very fresh. We had it multiple times. Why would you ever skip gelato? just TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.
Okay okay. So his name isn't actually MojitoMan and his bar is just a normal bar that happens to sell mojitos, but dangit, this man became our best friend and will forever lovingly be known as MojitoMan. I won't mention just how many we had but sufficient to say...we are serious fans of MojitoMan and they are SO good. Or they're just normal, and we had too many. Either way. We are pretty sure his bar is at 29 R. da Bica de Duarte Belo, if not, he's one or two doors down! There wasn't a big sign for him but GOSH THEY WERE GOOD. Evidence :
These were great! Definitely worth the hike for the views- I got us hopelessly lost and we accidentally ended up at Sophia de Mello Beyner Viewpoint and then had to re-route ourselves back down the hill and then back up to Castelo de S. Jorge, but still worth it and I'm glad we went. You get to see tons of the city en route to the Castle, and we got to experience the famous Lisbon tram!
Very very cool! Also VERY very crowded. We waited for probably half an hour to hop on the train (and had to use our elbows a little). The rides are a flat fee of around 3 euro, and basically make a loop of Lisbon. We took it from Chiado up to the castle. I would definitely recommend it! Maybe try to avoid peak busy times, like the afternoon/early evening.
Santa Catarina Lookout
So fun! This is right next to Pharmacia and another recommended spot that we didn't have time to try out (Noobai - mediterranean/middle eastern food with a view). GORGEOUS view of the city, and super lively especially at night. Lots of young people, live music, etc. etc. We checked it out in the morning and then circled back with drinks later to watch all the activity.
Local Festivities / Saint Anthony's Day
Speaking of activity - on our first night in Lisbon, we accidentally found tons of mini street parties and live bands performing in little nooks and crannies all over our neighborhood (and, as we later found out, all over Lisbon) for Saint Anthony’s Day (Dia de Santo António): 13 June. In Portugal, it’s a tradition to ask San António for a boyfriend or a girlfriend if you are single. If you are not, you may also ask him to bless your marriage. It was a PARTY. We hopped in the middle of the dance floor in front of one of the band stages and had a blast. If you're in Portugal/Lisbon in June - join the party!
Can't wait to recap our time in Lagos (it'll be much shorter) and Morocco! STAY TUNED!