Why don’t more people tile the outside of their houses?
The land of tiles houses and relaxed beautiful people. For me, the thought of Portugal has simply been good waves.. which didn’t occur on this trip. But I was pleasantly surprised and okay with just taking each day and not worrying about getting waves. A very culturally rich country with a willingness to hold onto their history, Lagos even identifies the site in which old slave trading occurred. After leaving Spain with my sister as a budding travel partner, Lagos was a fitting destination to be introduced to the Portuguese.
Algarve coast is the well-known region at the most southern coastline of Portugal. Sunny and hot, where the dirt meets the sea. For the most part, the coastline is long drawn out beach stretches of yellow sand and lapping turquoise colored water. The further west you get on the coastline, closer to the Atlantic, the more the ocean is characterised by movement and waves. Lagos is one of the defining areas of the cost. Unlike the rest of the Algarve, tiny beaches with even smaller caves at each end are dotted from the edge of town. All the beaches can be accessed, some easier than others, and it makes it easy to find some space the bask in the sunshine. All the little beaches surrounded by natural rocks archways and spires that have been carved out by the process of erosion over centuries. It is these interesting shapes dotted along the beaches that create a buzz about the coastline and its beauty.
The days spent with my sister finding a beach early morning, swimming and head-butting rocks while underwater (seriously, don’t try it… I turned out worse off). Leaving the water after almost skinning your whole forehead with blood running down my face isn’t exactly what people wanted to see while relaxing but, this is what I gave them. Mini hikes out and along the coastline and basking in sunlight, my sister clearly better than me at this whole sand lizard life. I think we were trying to hold onto the idea of summer as long as possible every day in Lagos. I did leave 1 pair of shorts down after the dry cleaning lady took a fancy to them… more than likely look better on her though.
Moving north we headed for Lisboa. Going from chill beach days swimming and jumping off rocks, Lisbon could have been a wild next stop. On the way out the door at Lagos, a young German fella warned: “don’t lose yourself in Lisboa friend!”
With the most densely populated area of bars in Europe, I could only imagine this was his experience of Lisbon. I was pleasantly surprised by the city, given I haven’t yet spent enough time there, and its relaxed feel. Full of people wandering the streets, train stations that smell like popcorn, smiles from the locals and big old terraced houses with large arched windows and tiled outer walls. Hard not to smirk at least a little just walking the streets my first afternoon in town.
The time in Lisbon was without a plan. One German, two Australians and two Austrians spent the day walking the city and just making up the direction as we went.
Alfama district is a small area next to the city and harbor. In this area, you can bounce around all the tiny old streets aimlessly and enjoy the character bleeding out into every street. Little old ladies sit in front of their houses and scream at you in Portuguese until you purchase some delicious cherry wine from them – ‘the most important entrepreneur on Lisbon’. Tram 28 runs down through these tiny streets still, which are the smallest streets to still operate a tram line today. The area also boasts some amazing old stone cathedrals alongside the tram line, or as one German exclaimed: “look, a fake Notrè dame to go with their fucking fake golden gate bridge!”. And aside from this you can stop almost anywhere for ‘cafe’ or lunch and be greeted with a smile and warm personalities. Yes, indeed I admired so much about Lisbon. I can not wait to be back there in a few weeks.
Local wine and food abundant everywhere, it becomes hard not to try everything. The selection of delicious tarts is quite frankly out of hand. I spent the time wandering Lisbon with a never-ending, but differing, view of something beautiful.
Land of Port, the town of Franceseniha and more tarts. So, so many tarts. We moved north for a few days in Porto before leaving Portugal. For the journey northward I got a ride share with some locals from Porto, now living in Lisboa. The sisters were the sweetest of humans and so welcoming to their car and road trip. During the short drive, we shared stories, snacks, laughs and most importantly music. The two young ladies were both musicians with good music to share and a really relaxed and wonderful way of looking at life. They were absolute gems of people, their warm nature could go along way if adopted by more persons the world over. Ride shares are a fun and interesting way to travel around in Europe, allowing yourself to converse with complete strangers and listen to their stories. Always trumps a bus ride.
For a smaller city, Porto packed a punch. The main town flexing its ancient architecture arm with a plethora of impressive structures in such a condensed area. As you walk toward the river, heading down through the small streets, there is no shortage of cute little ‘dollhouses’ as my sister called them. All the terraces boasted differing colours and patterned tiled roofs. Quaint yet with an artisan feel. And of course, on the south side of the river, a bunch of internationally know port companies. So port tasting was on the cards. ‘Taylors’ port is delicious by the way. And the distillery tour was super interesting and informative about how port is made and what differs it from traditional wine. I know a few gents that would be very hungover from a simple visit to Porto.
As I mentioned previously, I didn’t get the chance to surf in Portugal, however, I am so glad I left that one alone. Portugal had so much to keep me busy and excited and learning. I was able to experience that which I will never at home and I am going back. I need a lot more time in this country but I know I will have another bunch of days to find out and discover more about the Atlantic bordered country.
Next stop Morocco, Lisboa see you in a matter of days you gorgeous little tart.