Vibe checked in Lisbon- The European San Francisco…sorta
Of course I had to visit the Land of egg tarts!
I am drooling as I am writing this and reminiscing on the warm egg tart sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon that I had in Lisbon.
Portugal is a charming place… the buildings are covered with art–both in the from of tiles or graffiti(the good kind!)– and the city of Lisbon has an old school rustic hipster vibe. You are a short drive away from rad surf spots, everybody is friendly/chill and there are yummy egg tarts(better than golden gate bakery in SF’s Chinatown dare I say). It reminded me of SF in a way; the 25 de Abril Bridge is almost an exact replica of the famed Golden Gate Bridge(one of my favorite bridges). In fact, the company that designed the bridges in the bay area(including the bay bridge) also designed Portugal’s red bridge. The main difference is how inexpensive it was here! Compared to her European counterparts, Portugal is one of the most affordable countries.
As I arrived from the airport on an early Sunday morning, I noticed that the city was different from other European cities in that there was literally no one outside. It freaked me out a little. It was a weekend but the streets were almost completely empty, very uncharacteristic of European towns. I began to question if I was in the right place, the pictures I saw of Lisbon featured lively crowded cobbled streets with plenty of culture and people. My experience was different. All of the shops were closed and there was no one in sight. I thought I happened to be caught in the aftermath of an apocalypse that I was unaware had occurred somehow. A bit creeped out, I texted a friend that had been to Lisbon before and asked him what the eff was going on. He explained, that Portugal is a weird place but you learn to love it; people here do not go outside until after noon and businesses do not open early. It’s chill, and clearly, I needed a vibe check. If you want to learn how to truly take it easy, visiting Lisbon might be a good idea. People do things on their own time and at their own pace. Coming from a place where things were pretty much open all the time and there were always people outside as soon as the sun rises, this was quite the shock for me.
Accommodations: i stayed at an adult themed hotel so you don’t have to
I ended up choosing a boutique hotel which was walking distance from the main attractions I wanted to see. I stayed at the Maxime Hotel which features Burlesque themed rooms and a cool bar(they give you a free drink ticket as soon as you arrive). Now we’re talkin’. The hotel also included a free breakfast which had tons of options and even egg tarts! Just another note, I was unaware of the Burlesque theme and figured it out the hard way… I thought I had managed to accidentally book an “adult activity” hotel since there were bondage rooms, ect. It isn’t as bad as it sounds, I just minded my own business and explored during the day and came back to sleep at night, there was no issue. It was an overall comfortable stay and in the center of Lisboa which was convenient. I would recommend it for couples! If you are traveling as a family or with children I wouldn’t say that this place isn’t an option but be aware, I was completely oblivious and had to get another vibe check.
“If I listed spots that you could just google without offering any other value then I would be guilty of wasting your time“
Honestly, I could list a couple places that are worth visiting and I will do that as well but I wanted to mention that the entire city itself is worth seeing, not just these specific popular tourist attractions. I did not intentionally set out to see any sight in particular but managed to see all the significant spots by just wandering and getting lost. If I listed things that you could just google without offering any other value then I would be guilty of wasting your time. I will include my own opinions of these places and try my best to accurately describe them so you can feel like you were also there with me. The element of surprise increases the awe you will feel when you see the spots spontaneously and you can judge for yourself if certain places are worth the hype or not 🙂
- Belem tower: It is similar to a moat since it is surrounded by water but it’s built like a small castle. There is a bridge that allows you to enter the tower and get a view of the 25th de Abril bridge.
- Castelo de Jorge: I only had a chance to peak in from the outside because the lines to get in were ridiculous…be sure to come early if you want to go inside. From what I could see, it features a view of the entire city but you could also see that from the viewpoint for free sans lines.
- Santa Justa Lift: I have to admit, the history behind this one is pretty cool and quite informative. The lift itself gave off gothic mid century vibes.
- Miradoura de Santa Luzia: Breathtaking view of entire town
- Museum de Patriarchial: You won’t miss this one, it is quite a looker.
- Pink Street: Like the red carpet but pink LOL
- Ancient town: Reminded me of Cinque Terre(I’ll link it here if you haven’t checked out the post https://tiffanypham.me/2019/11/17/italy-cinque-terretranslation-five-lands/https://tiffanypham.me/2019/11/17/italy-cinque-terretranslation-five-lands/).
Egg tarts hehe
I sampled all the egg tarts so you don’t have to and I narrowed it down to two of what I consider to be the best egg tarts I have ever had in my entire life.
- Pastelaria Santa Antonio
Gonna end it here and keep it short and sweet:P