Adventures in Portugal and Spain (Part 1)

Portugal Part One-03.jpg

Travel has always felt somewhat sacred to me: I adore the energy in airports and train stations, the exhilarating unfamiliarity, uncovering beautiful little secrets of a new city, listening to other languages. It even feels liberating to live out of a single suitcase - the liberation from possessions and junk mail and chores around the house. Ever since my first trip out of the country at 18, I knew I wanted to devote a large part of my life to exploring the world. I was extremely lucky to have seen some of the world's most beautiful sights while I was in college, and I vowed that wouldn't change after I graduated. Of course, the realities of adult life delayed those plans a little longer than I'd hoped. But last Fall, I committed to saving up enough to have another adventure, a long overdue one, and in May I made it to Portugal and Spain with some girlfriends from college.

Our first taste of Portuguese life was in Porto - a city split by the Douro River which leads right into the ocean. The first thing to marvel at when you arrive here are the tiled facades and cast iron balconies of nearly all the buildings. It was truly the most magical thing about exploring this city - charming eye candy to greet you at every corner. The people of Porto also made this place feel warm and welcoming. I often found myself looking up at buildings to find people hanging out at their window sills, taking in the fresh sea air and smiling down at the crowd below. And in case you didn't know, Portuguese is an incredibly sexy language. Huge line dances and dance parties in the middle of the street and strolling through the winding hills to get down to the riverside and riding an old trolley out to the ocean made for a perfect introduction to this beautiful country.

After a few days dancing around Porto, we hopped on a train to Lisbon (that's the train station above!). Lisbon had many of the same architectural charms as Porto, but what made this city especially lovely was all the lettering and street art everywhere. They also had incredible pastries here; be sure to pick up a pastel de nata from Pasteis de Belem if you're ever here.

Cruzes Credo Cafe was by far the best food we had on the trip, and it even tops the list of best meals I've had anywhere. If you're in Lisbon, I'd highly recommend this place, and then wander around the streets and find a good Fado bar.

Next week I'll share some adventures from Barcelona!