Back at the end of May through early June I went to Portugal with a former coworker back in Michigan and her college friends. They are actually quite frequent travelers, which I appreciate because it's hard to find people who can take time off, have the finances and the desire to travel.
I was supposed to be flying overnight and have 6 days in Portugal (7 counting travel days), but there was some issues at the airport. My first flight got pushed back to the point where I would miss my connecting flight, and by miss I mean I was literally landing at the time my connecting flight was supposed to take-off... United then told me they would be unable to hold the plane for me for a few minutes since I was the only one on the flight going on that Porto flight.. so frustrating.
United ended up putting me on basically the same flights, but the next day so I missed out on a day of my trip, so I was pretty bummed about that. When I emailed United about it, they ended up giving me 5,000 airlines back (I used miles for the trip). We actually had more flight issues (more on that later).
After finally arriving in Porto and meeting the girls at their lodgings, we actually had to quickly check-out of that place and see if they would hold our bags for us for the day because we were flying out that night to Faro. So much fast paced travelling, was definitely not used to it!
Once we had our bags held, we set off to explore!
I'm assuming this building is a hotel, but it's a relatively simple design when you first glance at it, but the more you look at it, the more detail you notice. It's simply gorgeous.
I love old school architecture. It makes you feel something as opposed to more modern architecture, at least it does for me. All that color, so much going on. You could stare at this view forever and keep noticing something new, I love that.
I miss being able to casually throw up peace signs. It was all of our go-to pose for the "Now do a silly one". I was feeling nostalgic, so I had to throw it back.
Praia Da Rocha
This little beach town about an hour outside of Faro is a perfect little quaint beach town. We had an overnight booked here, but unfortunately it was kinda cloudy for most of it. The sun did come out for a few hours though and we managed to make the most of our stay.
The rock caves were an amazing experience despite the less than stellar weather.
I kinda love the stormy look of this photo, one of my favorites from the trip for sure.
The picture above really nails me and Jen’s friendship. We’re always sending each other funny memes. Memes keep friendships and relationships alive and well people! I promise you, it’s a proven scientific fact.
You know we had to get the whole squad in. Ignore how pasty I am lol. It takes a lot for me to tan and I’m also trying to prevent sun damage as much as possible. Skin cancer is very real people!
How quickly the day can change!
The sun finally came out and everyone was out at the beach. We got a few hours of relaxing on the beach in before it got too cold again. That beach nap was primo though.
Nothing like a sunset walk along the pier. I highly recommend doing this if you’re ever here!
Next we were headed to Lisbon, and our flight was super early the next day, so we were planning on just staying up. Luckily Noelle had this app on her phone that keeps track of her travel because it let us know that our TAP flight was cancelled, otherwise we never would have known because we heard NOTHING from TAP.
We try to call them and get nowhere, so we decide to just show up at the airport to see our next steps. Once we get there we wait around to hear what to do. They tell us our flight is cancelled (no reason ever given as to why, super sketch) and they were putting us on a bus instead. Whatever, we'll take it.
Oh by the way, in the EU if flights are cancelled or severely changed then by law the airline is required to compensate you up to a certain amount or gift aka miles, etc. So you best, believe we've been pursuing that. So far, only one of us has heard back and received payment, but that isn't for lack of trying!
Lisbon or Lisboa
Pink Street is infamous is Lisboa for obvious reasons, it is also known for its night life scene as well. We didn’t end up going out for drinks or anything in this area, but we were definitely recommended it more than a few times. I recommend going to see it if even for the Instagram photo alone.
Rua Augusta Arch
Next we headed to see some of the architecture and explore near the coast in Lisbon. We had to see the Rua Augusta Arch, which was built to commemorate the rebuilding of Lisbon after the earthquake is 1755. Fun fact: Lisbon is one of the oldest cities, but was completely leveled by the earthquake I just mentioned. The city had to completely rebuild on top of the leveled old Lisbon. Some details, the arch is adorned with historical figures and was original designed to be a bell tower, but ended up as an arch instead.
Ignore my weird dress situation, I had to put it between my legs because the wind was might fierce that day and it was a wrap dress, so very dangerous in that wind.
I just really love trees with flowers in them, no shame.
All the intense travel and flight issues wore me out!
The Couple of Dinks That Turned Into A Whole New Adventure (Lisboa cont.)
So we decided to venture out one night for a few drinks. Just a few. Well, for me that work out quite so well.
We were wandering a street full of bars and decided upon this Irish pub type place. We sat at the bar and quickly befriended the bartenders. So much so that Jells later got invited behind the bar to learn to make drinks and be the bartender!
While all that was happening, the girl sitting next to me at the bar was by herself and soon started talking to me. I quickly knew she was Portuguese nor was she American, but Brazilian! We quickly became friends and then shortly after a group of three British men begin chatting with us and taught us all the hip British slang, although if I’m being honest, I couldn’t recall any of them for you if I tried.
The guys asked us if we wanted to head to a club and hesitant to leave her with them alone, I decide to accompany her.
We ended up at a club called Urban beach that lives up to it's name because it is right on the beach! Clubs in Europe and Portugal stay open until 6 am. Which is what we ended up doing! It was a pretty wild decision, but it ended up being quite the experience! We literally danced until the sun came up!
My Brazilian babe and I after a night of dancing, we look pretty good after all that if I do say so myself! The streets are so empty in the morning, I sorta love it.
E-biking through Lisboa
We had this scheduled months before and I'm glad we did this. It was a lot of fun and a little stressful. In hindsight, if you do these kinds of bike tours in Europe, I recommend doing them in the morning and not at 1:30 because it is CROWDED. People barely get out of the way for cars here and not at all for bikes.
Jen (far right) lost an earring shortly before this was taken, ha. This was actually pretty fun! Our guides were awesome and gave us a lot of information about the city that we didn't know. I would however, not do what we did because we went walking all around the city a day before this tour (see above pictures) and this tour took us to a lot of the same places we had already been, and some new ones. Not that it's a bad thing, they gave us more information about the places we were seeing than we got on our own, but we probably could have spent our other day better had we known we'd see the same places on the bike tour.
These views though, am I right??
The Uber That Changed Everything
We heard good things about a small little town called Sintra and a castle a little ways outside of Lisbon and we had some time left, so we decided to get an uber and head out. Little did we know that we would have the best luck with Uber drivers in the world! More on that later.
We decided to spend the day exploring Sinatra and trying to make it to see some castles.
As you can see, I was highly enjoying myself while exploring the narrow streets of Sintra and the markets!
You have to try the native drink called the Ginjinha, also known as Ginja (pronounced like ginger but with an "a"), is a liqueur made from cherry-like ginja berries fermented in brandy, which is served in a chocolate cup.
Cabo da Roca & Cascais
Both of these places were recommended to us by our Uber driver turned tour guide. He really was an invaluable resource and totally worth the 100 euro we paid him!
Cabo da Roca is famously the most western point in Europe. There's gorgeous views, a lighthouse, and it's an awesome travel story to tell!
According to Wikipedia, Cascais is one of the wealthiest municipalities in both Portugal and the Iberian Peninsula. Similarly, it is home to one of the most expensive real estate markets and costs of living in the country, as well as a sizable international community. Cascais is consistently ranked for its high quality of living, making it one of the most livable places in Portugal.
Just outside of Cascais and on the way back to Lisbon from Cabo da Roca, you can find this gorgeous view down below.
You just can't beat these Cascais views! Gorgeous!
This was such a short and jammed packed trip, but I’m so glad to have been able to make it happen. Thanks again to our tour guide/uber driver pictured above for making it a trip to remember.
Portugal wasn’t even really on my travel radar, but it should definitely be on everyone’s list! The people of Portugal are so nice and the views are incredible. I wish we had more time to go spend a day boating more caves, if you go to Portugal do that for me!
Questions for you:
- What’s on your travel bucket list?
- What kind of traveler are you?
- Any travel recommendations?