Monday, April 2, 2012

My New Favorite Place on the Planet

is Portugal. And that's saying something, considering I live in Italy. Yes, Portugal was a destination I vaguely had in my mind for ages, and a few of us randomly decided that it would be an excellent middle stop for our Spring Break. And boy, was it ever!

this room literally cost $50 each for the
 entire time we were there
And despite the fact that we had the most random problem with the water (it was too hot- there was no cold water. Seriously. Who has that problem????), it really was a lovely place. They gave us great advice on where to eat and what to do.

Day 1 we were exhausted from traveling (I had to get up at 5:45 to catch a bus to the metro to a plane to another bus to the train to get to our hotel in Estoril, about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon) so we just explored the beach before dinner.



Castle on the beach. NBD

BEST STEAK EVER. I even ate it rare!

Erica and her fish that was probably
caught that morning

Portuguese doesn't translate to English well, apparently

After the best dinner ever (and really cheap! About 12 euros!) we were walking home and saw this bar. We obviously had to stop:

Of all the places, I find Piccadilly Circus in Portugal
Day 2 was probably the most relaxing day ever and it was FANTASTIC. We decided that the beach was the most logical starting point of the day and headed there. We proceeded to spend about 5 hours lounging. It was lovely.

Emily and I frolicking in the slightly chilly (read: FREEZING) water
We decided to eat lunch at a restaurant on the beach, where I had the most delicious cod I have ever eaten.


Spring Break in Portugal. No big deal.
 After spending an unnecessary amount of time trying to get our shower temperature to NOT be scalding, we headed out to walk along the beach to the city of Cascais (which, oddly enough, is pronounced Kahsh-K-eye-ish)
All of the streets in Portugal are basically mosaics.
That must have taken AGES to make

The lovely palm trees and flowers

friends at the lighthouse

Just picture a mermaid on the rocks

After a delicious dinner in Cascais we headed over to the Casino. It was not very lively since it is low tourist season and we only stayed long enough for me to lose 5 euro on my first try on a slot machine. Oh well. It was still a great day.

On Day 3 we headed into Lisbon for the day because it would be silly not to see the city the whole time we were in Portugal. We decided to go on a walking tour (even though it started early) because we had no idea about anything in Lisbon. It turned out to be a good plan.

Waiting to begin

The symbol of the city, a ship with 2 ravens
This church was destroyed by a fire and when they
rebuilt it they left the scars of the fire visable

In memory of the Jewish victims of intolerance and religious
fanaticism assassinated in the massacre of April 19 1506
Believe it or not, if you've studied Spanish and Italian like I have, Portuguese isn't that hard to read. Understanding spoken Portuguese is a completely different story! Continuing on...

Typical Portuguese drink- Ginjinha. Very sweet

our tour guide Sophia explaining cork trees
They use cork for everything

pretty graffiti 

Random old car selling Fado cds- Fado is a type of Portuguese

Elevator in the middle of the city

The portuguese guitar 
After a super huge earthquake in Lisbon they decided to make new sidewalks that are probably the most complicated things ever. They are made with a layer of sand and then tiles are laid on them by hand in these patterns. This must have taken forever.

TRAM- San Francisco style
on the tram


Liturgical Vestments of the 18th century

Arch entrance to the city

lunch- a pile of chicken

After our fabulous tour of the city and a delicious lunch, we headed to the aquarium (I always seem to end up going to one) because Erica really wanted to go. I love aquariums so we all said "Why not?"

This one wanted to eat us. For real

Look how close

warning. You will want to spend all day
at the otter tank. 

This guy
We decided to get dinner at the restaurant we ate at the first night . I got braised veal and Russell got fish. But what we didn't realize is sometimes they don't actually open the fish for you.

He bravely ate it all

It was a long, exhausting day so we headed back to the hotel after dinner for some much needed rest.

Our last day was bittersweet. We took one last walk down to Cascais and ate lunch on the beach, wishing we could stay forever. It was just such a mellow, simple place and I loved it there
relaxing near the harbor

last lunch on the beach

we had to get the token "feet in the ocean" picture

flying away
I definitely recommend a visit, especially before high tourist season. The weather was beautiful, the people friendly, the food fantastic and the atmosphere wonderful. Even if spoken Portuguese sounds like Russian.

1 comment:

  1. love the picture of you with the aquarium guy. seems like you take a lot of pictures like that :)