When it comes to travelling and visiting new places, I am normally the one who runs in the nearest book store to get a city guide, searches the internet for secret recommendations, talks to friends about experiences, so in general I have quite a good overview and idea of where I am going. Also geographically because there is nothing more interesting than studying maps.
Not this time. I very spontaneously followed the invitation to come visit a dear friend in Lisbon. Only at the airport’s newspaper shop I had the chance to flip through some pages of a city guide and thought to myself, who cares, I nevertheless have the best guide one can imagine. Months later I am still holding on to the memories of four days full of letting go. I remembered again of how life turns out to be like it has to – only when you quit controlling everything. At the moment of letting go, I realized that we need to release our agenda entirely, a profound feeling of relief may rush over us. This warm, open sensation is the essence of surrender.
So, Lisbon.. The very first thing I realized in this city, which made it immediately very very simpatico: leave all your high heels at home. Cobbled alleyways, the seven cinematic hillsides and the fact, that you could always end up at one of Lisbon’s near beaches, makes you wear flip flops the entire day.
These were my favourite places that I discovered in mine:
Delicious menu of different ceviche recipes, but they don’t take reservations and the waiting line is huge, so go very early, the Portuguese normally eat around 9 pm. Or you are lucky and you get invited by a group of Portuguese to join their table 😉
Dive into the knowledge of organic chocolate and travel in time to Sao Tome, Africa: in front of the Quiosques e Refrescos there is the Corallo family chocolate shop. For dark chocolate lovers only. Forget nougat, pralines and marzipan, this is the real cocoa – raw, rough, and delicious.
Embaixada is located in Ribeiro da Cunha Palace, one of the most iconic building in the trendy neighbourhood of Príncipe Real. This XIX century new-Arabian Palace was turned into an innovative shopping gallery that hosts a series of national brands and artists focused on Portuguese design, craftsmanship, fashion, gastronomy and culture. The result is a meeting point of people and experiences, tradition and contemporaneity, blending preservation of the architectural heritage with the newest that Portugal has to offer.
PASTEIS DE BELEM
Vienna has its’ Sachertorte while Lisbon has the indulgence called Pastel de nata, an egg tart pastry, that melts in your mouth. Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belem in Lisbon. These monks were originally based in France and loved these pastries which could be found in local French bakeries.
3 centuries later Pasteis de Belem is still one of Lisbon’s Must-Sees and -Dos.
Bars. Bars. Bars. And drinks, drinks, drinks. Nothing more to say.
Lisbon is surrounded by a stunning coastline that offers a variety of beautiful sandy beaches, many of which are easily accessible by public transport. Take the train or rent a car and drive approx. 30 minutes direction north and watch cute surfers breaking the waves.
Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon and is a fascinating town with a variety of historic monuments, lavish palaces and challenging hiking trails. Historically, Sintra was the summer retreat for the Portuguese nobility, who constructed extravagant palaces and grand residences that are set amidst the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra.
Moreover, Sintra has its own micro climate which makes the country side look like a tropical forest. We were “lucky” to see the coast line and beaches near Sintra covered in thick fog, a natural phenomenon worth experiencing.
A neverending OBRIGADA to all participants in this amazing city full of life, effortlessness and vibrance. I’ll be back!