Lisbon and Getting Lost

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A few months ago, my boyfriend bought me a scratch map and in my eagerness, I accidentally scratched off Portugal even though I've never been. Pretty embarrassing really, that I can't identify the outline of Spain after nearly 2 years of living there. 

There was only one thing for it. We had to go to Portugal immediately.

Flights to Lisbon and Porto are incredibly cheap (less than £60 return even in the first week of June) so it was easy to persuade my boyfriend. We hired an incredible Airbnb 1 bed flat with a parking space and the most amazing views over the city for £32 a night. If you're an Airbnb newbie, you can use this code (link) to get £13 off your first booking (and help me!).

We parked up and were met with this beautiful sight...gorgeous red tiled roofs and a bottle of Portuguese red to share, courtesy of our host. 

Lisbon view

We had done absolutely no research on what there was to do in Lisbon so we just set out on foot in the vague direction of 'the sea'. We were getting hungry by this point and sniffing out some places to eat. 

I had this theory in Spain that you should never eat in a place where Coca Cola had sponsored their sign - you were almost guaranteed a plate of defrosted patatas bravas covered in ketchup if you did. I applied the same theory in Lisbon and walked past a LOT of restaurants before stumbling on a quiet little square on Largo do Intendente. The O Das Joanas cafe appeared like an oasis out of the desert, serving frosty cold beer and incredible food with a laid back grin. If you're looking for some nice cafes in Lisbon, I would put this top of your list, along with Josephine Bistro and Bar a little further along the square. Gorgeous simple, cheap food!

O das Joanas cafe

After a few beers and a relaxing long lunch in the sun, we summoned up the strength to leave the cafe behind, walking slowly down hill in the hope of finding the coast. I've missed the concept of long lazy lunches in the sun, and we spent the time hatching plans on how we could move to Lisbon and live on Sagre and sardines. 

Eventually we stumbled on a jazz festival in the middle of the city, and collapsed on the grass for some more beers...despite the 'ginito' concept being waved temptingly in front of us on this sign...

Any ideas what that is?! Gin Mojito?? Travelling is about trying new things, I hear.

Things were looking promising for the sea, as we wandered along Rua Augusta, past some of the main shopping areas and under this gorgeous arch into Praca de Comercio.

Lisbon Arch

Under the arch is the very touristy main square and, eventually, the sea! And some gigantic seagulls too. A slightly random day of sightseeing which in fact turned out to be one of those lovely lazy days where you're not rushing from one museum or church to the next like a headless chicken. I've never been one for getting lost, not planning and just wandering, but every so often, it's just what the doctor ordered.

What do you think? Do you prefer to plan or just wander around a new city?

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