At one of our potlucks in Torino, a few of us started talking about Portugal and that it would be fun to spend a weekend there. None of us knew much about the country but a few glasses of wine later, Jillian, Ciara, Sarah and I had tickets booked and a long-weekend to Lisbon planned.
Fast-forward a few weeks and our weekend getaway was upon us. We had our flights, Jillian had found us an AirBnB…and that was it. None of us had a chance to do much research on the city and we had exactly 0 things planned. In addition to a serious lack of plans, I was seriously late on the packing.
Now, I’m typically a last-minute packer, but I think I took it to a whole new level with this one. Work got a little crazy on Friday afternoon and I was sending emails right up until I left for my EatWith dinner. That ended up going way later than I expected. And I had way more glasses of wine than I expected. So at 1:30am, I was randomly putting things into my suitcase, hoping I would at least remember the essentials. I was off to a good start!
I finally went to bed…and 3.5 hours later it was time to head to the airport. One thing I can’t seem to get used to in Europe is the lack of border control. The only time you show any ID is boarding the plane where the gate agent hardly glances down and waves you onboard. Since leaving Croatia, we’ve been in the Schengen Area, which apparently provides hassle-free boarder crossings. So much for filling up my passport this summer.
We landed in Lisbon, walked outside to get in the cab line, and immediately realized our summer-long heat wave had followed us to Portugal. Bring on the sweating!
Our AirBnB host actually lived in the apartment above ours and let us drop off our bags so we didn’t have to drag them around the city all day. So after dropping them off, we headed out for breakfast.
I fell in love with Lisbon walking the two blocks from our apartment to the restaurant.
The building across the street from our AirBnB.
Portugal is a much poorer country than others in Western Europe, so the infrastructure isn’t as new or updated. But what it lacks in shiny newness, it makes up for in character. The bright buildings are stunning. We also had perfectly blue skies, which made it that much more beautiful.
Art is EVERYWHERE which makes every street, every corner and every building so interesting. I felt like I was never paying attention to where I was walking as I was consumed with everything around me.
And the tile work on the buildings is stunning. Every few minutes, one of us would be taking pictures of a building covered in blue, green or pink tiles.
Tiles on tiles on tiles.
Even the sidewalks are made of big, white smooth tiles. Which are beautiful, but made walking difficult. Fun fact: Lisbon is incredible hilly.
Had any of us done any research, we probably would have realized this. But since we went blindly into the weekend, we had no idea. So we got our workout in, but were also slipping and sliding around.
We took a long enough break from admiring all of the architecture to check out the São Jorge Castle. This hilltop fortress dates back to the 2nd century BC, with the current walls built in the 10th century AD. While the fortress itself wasn’t too impressive, the views it offered over Lisbon and the harbor were incredible.
The rest of the day we just walked around, exploring Lisbon, admiring all of the buildings and window-shopping. We had an incredible meal at Canto da Vila and considering none of us had gotten much sleep the night before, we were happy to fall into bed that night.