Pastries All Day: Lisbon, Portugal

View of Lisbon from the castle.

Last winter we had the amazing opportunity to travel with our two favorite exploring friends, Heather and Karl, on our now annual European trip. Chris and I had just spent nearly a month in the US and were able to tack on (always the planner!) a short trip to Portugal and Spain before heading home. Our vacations together are very much walk around+drink wine +play cards+make fun of Philip Rivers and this was no exception.

Loved this weather after weeks in gray Ohio.

Lisbon is a beautiful city to just simply walk through. I like to think of myself as a constant wanderer with an eventual destination. Thankfully, Heather is also in a similar mindset (typical conversation: “what kind of succulents are these? Do you think there is gelato nearby? Wonder what kind of recycling streams they have here?”) much to the chagrin of Chris and Karl, who as Heather says, are always in a hurry to get nowhere.

Pastéis da nata! These pastries were developed in 1837 and remain a staple in Lisbon. For us (minus Chris) these pastries were consumed throughout the day: breakfast, after bus snack, post-dinner snack, random do-you-smell-that-bakery-snack.

Where are we?

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and archeological artifacts show that tribes from all the back to the Neolithic period inhabited the area. The history of the city is absolutely incredible. While Lisbon is recognized as the capital, this designation has never been confirmed officially; its simply the “de-facto” capital of Portugal as the designation was formed through constitutional convention, rather than written form (any other Poli Sci nerds out there fascinated by this? Just me?).

View from our apartment.

Located right at the mouth of the Tagus River, Lisbon is the westernmost capital of a mainland European country. During WWII, as Portugal remained neutral, the country’s dictator, António Salazar, allowed spies from both the Nazis and Allies in Lisbon. The connection supposedly inspired Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond series. The capital also houses the world’s smallest bookstore, although I missed that when I was there.

View of the city from the castle.

The Sites:

First Soccer Match:

Our first match ever! The hometown team Benefica scored four goals on Feirense for the win! The atmosphere was AMAZING and the crowd was awesome. We had great seats (thanks Karl!) and a rowdy group in front of us actually broke a few of the seats on accident. You can watch the highlights and look for us here!

Wandering this Beautiful City:

We stayed in the historic district of Alfama which is absolutely beautiful but also meant we were working those calves climbing up all the narrow streets (worth it!).
View from our street.
I love the holidays in Europe. Every street was decorated and bright.

The Waterfront:

Wandering aimlessly. I loved living near the coast for ten years and I really miss views like this now that I live in a landlocked country.
Tagus River.
Love these painted and stacked rocks.
Chris: “Where are they? When are we playing Borderlands?”

Praça do Comércio:

The Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is located on the river. On the right is the Statue of King José I that was finished in 1775.
Special holiday edition of the plaza.
A closeup of the Rua Augusta Arch that was completed in 1873.

Rua Nova do Carvalho:

Rua Nova do Carvalho (Pink Street) was previously the Red Light District in Lisbon. Now home to a ton of popular bars and shops, we walked along the Pink Street on our way from lunch.
Photo Credit: Heather

National Azulejo Museum:

National Azulejo Museum (National Tile Museum) was a beautiful stop and a great way to learn more about the tile that is used across the city landscape.
The museum is located in the former Convent of Madre Deus (1509) and became a national museum in 1980.
The museum includes exhibits from the 15th century to present-day.

Speaking of Tile:

The blue tile used across Lisbon is incredibly beautiful.

Castelo de S. Jorge:

Originally built as a citadel, the castle’s walls and towers can seen from the city below.
Archeologists have found evidence humans lived here in the second century BC and some type of fortification was built as far back as 48 BC.
Hi Lisbon, I love you.

Random Sites:

Stay mindful.
A reminder (graffiti at the LX Factory).

Restaurants:

Copenhagen Coffee Lab:

We were super lucky to have Copenhagen Coffee Lab up the street from our apartment and we stopped by for breakfast on our way to Spain. If you remember, this breakfast made my highly prestigious “Best Brunches of 2018” list.
Chris: “Seriously can I just eat my breakfast sandwich?” Karl literally ordered this for second breakfast after he saw how good it looked.
Heather and I both ordered this avocado toast + egg combination along with sweets for the flight because great minds and all that.

The Time Out Market:

The Time Out Market is a giant cafeteria-esque building that has over 40 restaurants to choose from for all of your lunch needs. Seafood, burgers, dessert, and wine were all represented. I was mostly focused on this gorgeous pudding and now realize I should have documented everyone’s Portuguese seafood dishes.

The Saj Bakery:

We stopped at the Saj Bakery on our way to lunch (#vacation) and grabbed a spicy wrap to go. I was really excited about this spot because I LOVE Lebanese food and I don’t often have the chance to eat a vegetarian wrap in Hungary. All the heart in eyes emojis.

The LX Factory:

Or as Karl referred to it, the FX Factory (which ended up sticking in my head even as I went through my pictures looking for this post. Blame it on Archer).
Located in the Alcântara neighborhood, the LX Factory is a converted 1846 fabric production plant that now has over 200 business–markets, restaurants and shops.
Hi, I’m here to buy all the meat, cheese, wine, and honey. We stocked up for our infamous card games. Sadly, I was caught attempting to smuggle the honey to Spain where my “But is honey truly a liquid?” argument was not met with amusement from the airport security staff.
Heather and I stopped at this adorable food truck for sangria.
How beautiful are these cabbages?

Primo Basilico:

This. Pizza. Though. Primo Basilico serves pizza “al taglio” (by the cut) and they have options for everyone. We stopped by after our day trip to Peniche and each ate about half a pizza. It was sooooo good.

Giallo:

In classic Heather and Ashlyn fashion, we had to find the best gelato in all of Lisbon. Giallo definitely meets the requirement. Located in the Alfama neighborhood, they had a variety of super cool and interesting flavors, plus breakfast! What else do you need in this world?
My apology for the shaky picture; I only had gelato on the brain. I ordered the pistachio and mascarpone/strawberry.

So happy to experience this amazing place with awesome friends.

Friendly Reminder: You can see all my favorite travel spots on the fully downloadable Middle World Adventures Map.

Cheers!

Currently–

Reading: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Isabel Wilkerson)

Watching: Game of Thrones Season 5 (HBO)

2 thoughts on “Pastries All Day: Lisbon, Portugal

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