At the start of the year, I hot footed it to Lisbon, which is known as 'The city of light.' I don't think I knew what that really meant at the time- I was just about ready to take a break from London's usual grind and get some much needed vitamin C. I arrived at my Airbnb at the dead of night and was apprehended by a brutal flight of wobbly cobbled stairs that paved upwards into the eerie night. The taxi driver was only too kind to help me as he saw me battling with 4x4 and out of control suitcase. You see, Lisbon is nestled on not one, not two, but seven hills. Yes that's right, SEVEN. Very steep hills according to Lisbon-lore each hill has a story to tell. I won't go into too much detail about it all but I will SHOW you all the details if you catch my drift. Now I'm quite prepared to climb hills, just not not unexpectedly and with inappropriate shoes on weighed down with luggage but when I finally got to the front door, greeted by the neighbours, hauled ass to the top of the building where my apartment for the week was located- those 'hills' weren't so bad after all. Because views.
At first light, I instantly fell for the pastel coloured buildings and rusty red rooftops that peppered the sky line as far as the touristy eye could see. Oh and the tiles. The tiles! If you love ceramic tiles well...then you're in tile heaven. I was in tile heaven! If you are in search of that Instagram perfect vacation but don't have the pounds to stretch to Cuba, then Lisbon, Portugal is right on the money.
Lisbon is no doubt very much proud of it's ancient yet diverse history, seafood, pastel buildings, Fado music and Ginjinha- the city's favourite tipple.
Virtually everything on the way to Sao Jorge Castle was picturesque. I took a tram for the majority of the way, before walking the rest of the way up for those all important views.
Transport You will be spoilt for choice. Not only can you get around by train or by über cheap Uber, but you can also catch the Tram or jump in the little tuk-tuks that are available all over the city. I highly recommend the last two options because Lisbon has some tight corners that are worth squeezing in to. I tried not to take too many pictures of Trams whilst in Lisbon, but alas I failed miserably. I mean, how romantic?? Particularly Tram 28 which is the famous route of all. I would jump on the train first to Baixa do Chiado and walked down to the famous landmark on Praça do Comercio where I could ride the tram all the way around town. It is public transport which is used heavily by locals so a little cheat I learned is to get the other tram for tourists which has red interiors and is empty outside of the peak season. They're a little pricy, but valid for 24 hours from purchase. This means you can hop on and hop off the same tram at any point or rejoin the route from any part of town it passes through. Check out more info here
Coffee If you're as caffeine obsessed as I am, then head to the Copenhagen Coffee Lab on the Rua Nova da Piedade in the hipster district of Biarro Alto. They specialise in AllPress coffee and they make a mean flat white. The clue is in the name as these two girls from Norway and Denmark decided to open a franchise so that they wouldn't feel too far away from home. I also recommend the danish pastries on offer which I indulged in pretty much everyday. It was also the spot I would often hit first thing in the morning before planning my day sightseeing. Another great coffee place is Fabrica.
Shopping Remember when I said I was a stones throw from Louis Vuitton and Loewe? Well I kid you not. I stayed in the Chiado district which is home of the famous and pretty grand Avenida de Liberdade aka the Bond Street- nay, the Promenade de la Croisette of Lisboa. Coach? Check. Armani? Check. Chanel? Well...no but I did find a great little gem tucked away in a shopping centre called the Tivoli Forum. Now I am not saying the Portugese aren't stylish, but I was hard pressed to find anything that suited my urbanista jungle cat hobo chic vibe. Cue The Fashion Clinic. Lisbon's answer to Matches a multi brand store chock full of Acne Studios, Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Isabel Marant.
The Fashion Clinic
To Eat Looking back I felt as though I didn't each that much but I KNOW I did. I felt it in my jeans. One of my favourite discoveries has to be Pachamama's, an organic and conscious eco friendly restaurant. I went all in for the fennel risotto and after my long trek all the way down to Cais de Sodré where it was located, and it really hit the spot. ( see pics below) I also lunched and dined at the popular Sushi Cafe Avenida and chowed down on the freshest salmon sushi prepared in the most inventive ways-I'm talking caramelised apple people- and finally stumbled upon the Time Out Market where all your street food dreams come to be realised under one roof and communal seating. You want Oysters? Come get it. Steak? Yes. Traditionaly Portugese cuisine? Sushi and Ramen? Yes yes and yes! It's one of the most popular tourist destinations pulling in around 2 million visitors per year so they must be doing something right.
Pachamama located on BOQUEIRÃO DURO NO. 46 1200-163
I cannot express how much I saw, did and eat guys, so you'll have to wait until I complete part two. Cheerio.
Actress and Photographer/Blogger