Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Note: So, I suck at consistency. This post and two others have just been hanging out in "drafts" with only pictures and brief commentary, but I keep coming back to the thought that it is important to me to finish this little series eventually. So... maybe expect the last one sometime next year (I joke, maybe.)

I left Bilbao early afternoon on Tuesday, had a short layover in Barcelona (where I almost lost my wallet, EEK, before my scattered-ness was pointed out by a kindly European), and landed in Lisbon late Tuesday night. 

I had scheduled two full days in Lisbon, and by this time, I was getting pretty darn good at living out of the carry-on-sized suitcase and small backpack. It's strange to admit, but by Wednesday afternoon or so, I was also getting a little tired of it and travel fatigued (why yes, that sound you hear is the world's smallest violin.) As a result, I do not think I really dove into Lisbon as much as I know I would have otherwise -- I took it pretty easy. That said, Lisbon was such that I think I could take it easy and still enjoy and embrace the city immensely.

Lisbon is beautiful and bright and warm, with touches of old and new throughout. It's built around the mouth of the Tagus River at the Atlantic Ocean.

Loved it.


Murals (and trash, woops)
Entire walls of buildings were painted or tiled in bright colors.

Mosaic cobbled streets.

Loved this alleyway.

Art everywhere.

Beautiful days and nights. Above, I spent both evenings at this overlook, which according to Google is called the Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara. Just such a beautiful view and vibe with performers (guy with guitar playing Bob Dylan... oh, and somebody else breathing fire.)

Dogs and fish.

Sao George Castle

Pretty cool. Nice views. Worth a morning and a few euros.

Port Wine Institute

First sip: I don't think I like port.
Second sip: Well, I don't love port.
Third (and subsequent) sip: Hey, this stuff's pretty alright.

This was highly recommended by several guidebook-y sources. They had an amazing selection, a bit overwhelming to this port ignoramus. I put my life in the hands of the person working there, and she did right by me. I forget what kind this is, but I'd trust her again.


Another commonly-referenced must-do/see in Lisbon was visit a fado club. My awesome AirBnB hosts, Claudia and Pedro, recommended a couple of fado places in the Alfama neighborhood.

I loved it. I guess I'd describe fado as Portugal's blues -- but that comparison is pretty lame. The women who sing are like the sultriest, most heart-broken blues singer you ever heard (guys too, but the ladies slayed). It is like nothing else.

Also -- the fado club I visited was totally reasonable. I guess there are a bunch of touristy places where you can expect to drop a ton of dough on dinner and music. They had a minimum (I think 10 euro) but that was easy to meet with a glass of wine and some cheese -- seriously, that was it: a good-sized wheel of cheese (which was clearly intended for more than 1 person) and a knife. I feel like there is a fado song in there somewhere -- a good-sized wheel of cheese and no one with whom to share it.

River Beach and Praca do Comercio

Singing "On My Own" from Les Mis beautifully. One of my favs.

I did not make it to any of Portugal's ocean beaches (which are, by all accounts, legendary), but I did the "river beach." My AirBnB hosts mentioned that the area was fairly new and had come a long way in developing the surrounding area. It was a nice place to just stroll along, find a cafe with sandwiches and wine, and chill out. I am sensing a pattern in the final leg of my trip.

First (and hopefully last) time flying RyanAir
Flew RyanAir back to Paris on Friday for my flight home on Saturday (glad I didn't try for the same day, because I got back to the city almost 4 hours after I thought I would.) And I almost didn't make it on the plane because I didn't save the boarding pass correctly on my iPad. Classic RyanAir. But here we are. 

Plus, as a result of that nerve-wracking incident, I had a really interesting conversation with 2 other almost-didn't-make-it-ons (a super nice Portuguese couple) about Portugal's and Greece's economies.

Considering the amount of time devoted to RyanAir in my MBA (2 case study discussions in 2 separate classes) and to the European Union (basically an entire quarter and then some), I wouldn't have had it any other way. It was a nice capstone to my degree. Who doesn't love symmetry.