We made it into Lisbon just in time to check in at our hotel and leave our bags with the front desk before running back out and catching a cab to Jardim da Estrela to meet our food tasting tour guide. Somehow we were only two minutes late! It was 4:30 in the afternoon and we’d been traveling for 18 hours but we were feeling pretty good. Our routine when arriving into an international city is to force ourselves to stay awake until it’s bedtime to help avoid jetlag. It works really well for us. One of the best ways to stay awake is to book a food tour. Not only does it provide us with dinner, it also gives us the chance to learn more about the city and gain a real sense of place before exploring the city on our own.
Our tour guide, Kika, gave us a warm welcome and then we started right in with a variety of coffee drinks and Portuguese cakes that she had picked up at the bakery before coming to meet us. It’s so easy to absorb a history lesson when the spices you’re learning about are baked into the cake you’re eating! We eventually made our way through a few stops and into a tiny neighborhood market run by 90 year old Senhor Antonio who began work there at age 16. His little market is among the last of its kind in the city and we could just feel the warmth and authenticity of what he’d built there for all these years.
Kika, left and Senhor Antonio, right, pictured above.
Around 9:30pm, after walking and tasting our way around the city for many hours, we were feeling stuffed and happy, yet so tired that we were almost sick. We finished up the tour, said our good-byes and headed back to the hotel where we conked out in about two seconds. We had made it through our first day!
We slept in the next morning and decided to spend the day simply exploring Lisbon on a relaxed schedule to kind of ease ourselves into the trip. We ate Portuguese Custard Tarts at Aloma and Manteigara, explored countless neighborhoods, I ate grilled fish for lunch, octopus salad for a snack, and shrimp for dinner. (This is a city with the tastiest seafood!)
The tiled buildings here are one of the most beautiful sights to behold. I could honestly never get enough of it. Lisbon feels like a city that woos you with its beauty and wins you over with its warmth. The people here are lovely.
One thing I had no idea about is that Lisbon is very original, which just adds to its beauty, and that every single street and a lot of the roads are cobblestone. When work needs to be done, the streets aren’t paved over. They’re repaired with cobblestone. We walked by several areas being re-stoned and it’s a fascinating process to see. Also, you’d never ever ever want to wear anything other than sneakers or flats here. I honestly don’t know how you could.
After dinner, Colin and I ran into Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, which was pretty fun and kind of the perfect way to end the day.
Tomorrow we’re headed out of Lisbon and on to some active adventures and more exploring. There’s also some pastries in the plans. Hooray!
This post is one in a series posts on my visit to Portugal. You can find all of my posts here:
Me with the President of Portugal, (above).
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.