A Weekend in Lisbon
It had been a while since I fell absolutely head over heels for a city — since the first time I went to Oslo, I think!
I’ve made quite the habit of hopping on a red-eye flight out to Europe. Luckily, I have my flight drug situation teed up like a pro, and can reset my own body like an alarm clock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well when I’m trying to get into the office by 9am, but hey, the vacation adrenaline rush is real.
Lisbon staked the beginning of what would be a mostly solo, two-week adventure in Portugal and Spain. Nickerson joined me for the first few days, and then on my 31st birthday, I sent him off to the states, and continued on my Spanish quest.
But first, Lisbon.
I landed at 7am and promptly hopped into a cab with Nickerson, off to our charming little studio Airbnb in the Santa Catarina neighborhood. We dropped our luggage off and ventured off into Lisbon with a list of recs, and coffee was pretty much items 1 through 5.
Between ducking into little shops and exploring the steep, slippery sidewalks in Barrio Alto, we found ourselves calling each new building our new favorite tile installation. That first day was quite an experiment for me, as I had forgotten my favorite lens (on a two-week trip!) and thought I could get by with just an iPhone. Iphone-only life is not for me, but I did really enjoy walking around with just a cross body purse instead of my usual camera bag!
With only Saturday and Sunday to explore, we decided on wandering Lisbon and keeping plans flexible on our first day, just in case we’d have to succumb to jet lag. We picked up cappuccinos to-go from The Mill (breakfast pictured above), and made sure to be those tourists, taking photos of every different tile pattern that caught our eyes.
When I say we just wandered, I do really mean that we wandered, in the simplest sense of the term. We only spent about 48 hours in Lisbon, and I’m just dying to go back.
A Cevicheria – SUCH a fun spot. Put your name on the list, and have a few pisco sours on the sidewalk while you’re waiting for the table. The giant octopus hanging from the ceiling makes the perfect third wheel for a ceviche and vinho verde date.
Pesca – We stumbled upon this inconspicuous gem after being quoted a 90 minute wait at another restaurant, while hangry. And while I wasn’t planning on dropping 60 Euro on a dinner, I had zero regrets, and I would highly recommend if you’re in the mood for a Chef’s Table-like experience without the price tag.
The Mill – Luckily, our Airbnb was maybe 100 feet away from The Mill, which ended up being our repeat coffee stop. Stop in for breakfast if you can, and get something — anything — with avocado and fresh tomatoes.
TimeOut Market – Pretty touristy, but a fun place to snack nonetheless. We ended up grabbing a parkside table at Balcão da Esquina and splitting a bottle of rosé over snacks.
Park Bar – a little hard to figure out (find the elevator in the ground floor of the parking garage) but so worth the view and the scene. I first heard about Park from a coworker of mine from Lisbon — and was so in love with Lisbon by the time I got to that view, that I was researching Portuguese classes and texting an old Portuguese ex-boyfriend. I regret nothing.
Confession: we day drank a lot in Lisbon, and didn’t exactly hit the clerbs. We tried, but jet lag combined with the fact that people don’t go out until 2 am made it difficult… I might try again next time, but here are some recs that were given to me that I didn’t necessarily check out!
Pensão Amor – former brothel, now a sexy cocktail bar
Bar Hotel Chiado – a rooftop bar with more beautiful Lisbon views
Cascais – I initially had my sights set on Sintra and Cascais, but we fell so in love with Cascais that we never made it to Sintra. Hop on the train and enjoy the coastal views for 40 minutes, and tada! You’re in Cascais. Wander the beautiful tiled streets, peruse some beachy shops, and dip your toes into the Atlantic.
Azulejos – Portugal’s famous tiles, which you’ll find all over buildings, alleyways, hallways, and even the sidewalk. Admire them, savor them, and find a set of them in a shop that you can convert into coasters at home. Oh, and be sure to wear comfy shoes, because those tiled sidewalks are hella slippery after a summer rain.