Sunday, 13 August 2017

Travel Diary: Portugal ♥

Monday 7th August 2017

I made it to Lisbon and words cannot describe how happy I am. This year I have managed to visit two of my bucket list countries. Italy and Portugal were both very high on my list for Europe. Do you want to know what I think about Portugal so far? It's great. It is very different to the rest of Europe in a good way. You can see culture and diversity everywhere and everybody seems united. Portuguese people come in all different skin tones...they sort of remind of of Brazilians. Some are white with blue eyes, some are olive skinned with dark hair, some look mixed race with afro hair, some are black. That means that I blend in and it's not obvious that I am a tourist. 

When my plane landed I tried a Portuguese tart (Pastel de nata). The country is famous for them so of course it was the first thing I wanted to try. It was not that tasty...but that could be because I bought it at a train station. They tend not to have the greatest versions of food. So I am going to try one every day from a different place to see if the taste varies. Anyway, after grabbing my tart I hopped on the metro to my accommodation. I'm staying in a guesthouse which looks like a hotel. After check in I freshened up and then went to explore. One thing I have to say is that Lisbon is the most hilly city I have ever been to. It is borderline dangerous I almost slipped so many times.  I also saw many other people losing their balance whilst trying to navigate through the steep hills and roads. 

I went to Sao Jorge castle which was cool and had a lovely view. After that I went to a shop called "A Vida Portuguesa" and bought some soap. I was going to also buy some port wine but decided not to because i'm trying to budget. After that I went to the time out market for dinner. I had Bacalhau with a tomato rice. Bacalhau is like dried cod fish fried in batter. This was pretty much the end of my first day. I got the metro back home and took a long shower. Tomorrow I am going to the beach all day to relax after all those steep roads. It has been a great first day in Lisbon and I am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. For now I am going to sort out my photos from today and catch some sleep. 

Tuesday 8th August 2017

Wow I am so tired. I went to the beach today which should not have been tiring. I took an overground train out of Lisbon to a coastal town called Cascais. It was nice and peaceful to just watch the waves go by. There were some creepy guys who kept on staring at me and trying to talk to me. THEN they started taking photos of me in my bikini. What the hell! I am not sure where they were from but I don't think they were Portuguese. After this I decided to get dressed and come off the beach for a while. 

After doing some research online I tried to get into the restaurant which supposedly has the best octopus. Unfortunately they did not let me in because they only had one table left and it was a table for 4. I suspect that they weren't too keen on solo diners considering that the restaurant was full of big tables. It annoyed me but I found a less touristy traditional restaurant within 5 minutes. I ordered Octopus with rice and some green wine. I have been waiting to try octopus for ages. Do you want to know what my verdict is? It's actually very nice. It is a bit chewy and tastes like chicken and fish mixed together. 

I texted Josie earlier to let her know that I am in her country. Turns out she is back in Portugal and we are meeting on Friday. Remember I said that I would try another Portuguese tart? well I didn't have one from a shop today. But I went to the supermarket on my way home and bought a pack of 4. It tasted a lot better this time. There is not really much to report on because all I did today was visit the beach and eat octopus. Tomorrow I am going to be a tourist and go on a day tour to Sintra. It is like a town/village in the mountains which has many castles and palaces. I think the tour leaves early at like 9am so I need to get an early night. Tchau :).

Wednesday 9th August 2017

I am back from my evening shower and refreshed. So I did my trip to Sintra today. It was good because we had a great guide, he was friendly and went out of his way to talk to everyone. We visited Pena Palace in Sintra mountains which was beautiful. It is so beautiful, I have been to many palaces in Europe and nothing tops this. It is mainly bright red and yellow but has some Moroccan patterns as well. I learnt that Portugal has a lot of North African style decorations from when the Moors moved to Spain and Portugal. After visiting the Palace we went to Sintra village to have a break for lunch. Two Italian girls on my tour asked if I wanted to join them for lunch because I was travelling solo. So we went to eat chicken crepes and tried the famous Sintra pillow pastries (travesseiros). They taste amazing! a lot better than the "pastel de nata" tarts.  

So after eating we went went to try a shot of "ginjinha" which is like cherry liquor. Then we back to the tour bus and made a few more stops along the way. It was so windy to the point where the van was shaking. The police closed off some of mountain roads due to the extreme winds. Our tour guide said that Madeira airport has been closed for 5 days due to the extreme winds. Madeira is also another place I would like to visit some day. I wore shorts today and everybody was staring. I sincerely hope that my bum cheeks were not on display. I kept checking in mirrors to make sure that shorts were not showing my cheeks. But that wind is extreme so you never know. On Monday I wore a skirt and the wind kept on blowing it up. I'm pretty sure that half of Lisbon has seen my ass. Just before the tour ended we had some free time and I went to browse the shops. I went to Zara and got an olive t-shirt and nude bag for 11 euros. That would have cost me double the price at Zara in England. It is a Spanish company so their products are cheaper in Spain and Portugal.

Anyway, so after the tour our guide drove us back to Lisbon and dropped us off near a square. From here I went to a local restaurant called "Bonjardim" to try piri piri chicken. It tastes so much more real than the piri piri chicken in England. I even went to the supermarket afterwards to buy some piri piri seasoning. 

Thursday 10th August 2017

I had a nice day today which started with a food tasting walking tour from 10-3pm. I rarely do tours when I travel, so it's shocking that I have done two in Portugal. It was a great tour because we got to eat and see the city at the same time. I had nice people on my tour and got to talk to everyone. We got the boat to another town called Cacilhas on the other side of the river. I can still smell the fish on my fingers. On this tour we got to try sheeps cheese, port wine, sagres beer, vinho verde, shrimp, bacalhau, and a fish pastry. To be honest these are things that I could have tried anywhere and I didn't really need to do the tour. Like for example I had already tried vinho verde, sagres and bacalhau. But I guess it was a nice way to meet people and share travel experiences with other travel/food enthusiasts.

So after the tour I went to Carmo convent because I did not get the chance to go on Monday. It was cool because it is not something you get to see everyday. It was also not packed with tourists and had a low entry fee of like 4 euros. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Then I wandered around the shopping area and went to Zara agan. This time I bought a nude coloured dress. Then I went to have dinner and had the cheapest meal so far in Lisbon. This included olives, grilled fish, salad, rice, potatoes, and a glass of sangria. Guess how much? 9 euros. The manager even gave me a shot of Ginjinha and a shot of port wine for free after my meal. If I ever come back to Lisbon this restaurant will definitely be my first stop. Now I am back at my accommodation and need to shower and pack. Tomorrow I am meeting Josie in Belem and leaving for the airport at night. 

                   llondon leopard



  1. Super interesting post, I love this kind of article and I'd like to visit those places! You've an amazing blog, would you like to follow each other?:)

    1. Thanks Giulia I will follow your blog :) x

  2. I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates. stop for travel enthusiasts


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