Olá from Portugal!
We have been basking in some beautiful sun here in Portugal and enjoying several delicious cities. We spent time in Lagos and Lisbon with our friends, then ended with a lovely time in Porto. The heat and weather were a delightful part of our stay here, second only to the vast amounts of delicious food we stuffed ourselves full of. We managed to ingratiate ourselves into some beachside sports pub culture, take in beautiful views of the cities, and enjoy our shared company.
We began by taking a bus across the border from Spain, and traversing the countryside until we arrived at the beach town of Lagos. We were glad to show our friends how we travel and cross some borders with them. Lagos brought a couple of unique experiences for us, for starters we got our first introduction to Green Wine, or Vinho Verde.
Lagos also brought us one of our favorite types of days – boat day. Our group of friends joined a trip that sailed around the Ponta Da Piedade. This is a series of rock structures abutting the shore with sparkling blue water, ripe for swimming, splashing around them. Our boat tour took us into and around the different “rooms” and explained that the people who used to fish from here named the different formations after the rooms in a house that their function most closely represented. For example, the “garage” is a cave where the fishermen used to store their boats at night or during large storms.
While here we got to watch the Rugby World Cup. Our group found a sports bar and enjoyed cheering for our respective teams. There were a few travelers from competing team countries, making it all the more enticing to cheer loudly over them. We enjoyed some friendly competition and it helped us to feel a little more European for the night.
After Lagos, we rode north to the capital of Portugal: Lisbon. Here we got caught in a rainstorm while exploring the Jardim Botanico Da Universidade De Lisboa. These botanical gardens have fun plant-themed sculptures scattered throughout, and some large leaves that make for great shelter from precipitation. It cleared up soon after though, and we were able to enjoy most of our meals al fresco. One of which we did seventy percent of the way up to Castelo San Jorge, meaning we dined with a view of the city while enjoying some classic Portuguese eats.
One Portuguese bite that did not escape our notice was the egg tarts or Pastel de Nata. These delicious desserts had entire bakeries dedicated to serving just them – and we tried them all. I think personally I averaged six egg tarts a day in Lisbon, so our crew had to have made an impact on local sales.
After Lisbon, we traveled even further north, to Porto. Having parted with our friends we used Porto as a bit of a reset and enjoyed a relaxing stay. We ate all of the Portuguese food we could find that we had not yet tried and ate even more egg tarts. We found a new sports bar to watch more of the Rugby World Cup in, this time cheering for the home team. We walked all over this city traversing the hills and parks, and hunting down quite the array of restaurants. Each day was better than the last.
We have loved our time in Portugal, but now we have packed our bags and must move on. Our next nation has over 1500 types of beer. Any guesses where we are off to next?