There’s something so familiar about Portugal, as I walked through the cobble stone streets I instantly felt at home, and whilst Portuguese words spoken around me went straight over my head, it didn’t feel like a barrier at all.
I could live here, I thought.
Its name leaves no mystery that Porto was the city where the liquor Port was born, however it is a far richer city than just Port.
Set on a series of hills, this makes moving around Porto by foot sometimes challenging yet never boring, with each part of the city coming to life in its very own way. Along the marina you’ll find an array of restaurants and bars filled with fine wine and fresh food. While in the city you’ll be immersed in the beautiful mosaic buildings and street art woven into nature leaving you wandering for hours on end in awe.
This city is one of the most well-rounded and complex cities I’ve been to. Lisbon truly has something for everyone and could have kept me there for years, simply to unveil its intricacies. Lisbon is like an old passion-fuelled romance, there’s something so familiar about it yet every layer seems to get more intricate, more beautiful as you discover it. The energy, the ride, just doesn’t seem to end, not matter how well you know it.
By day, pass through historic areas of Alfama, São Bento or Belém painted in colour, full of life yet still a sort of calming energy threaded through. Pass by smiling faces, but keep an eye out for the rattling trams tracing the streets, over and over.
By night, Lisbon’s energy escalates in the streets as people gather to drink, dance and mingle in Bairro Alto or Rua Nova do Carvalho.
Whether you choose to escape to the sea, enjoy the history, or discover the diversity of Lisbon, it is filled with endless, endless possibilities.
As Amadeu in A Night Train to Lisbon said… “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We travel to ourselves when we go to a place. Now we have covered the stretch of our lives, no matter how brief it may have been.”
Ghost stories are told about this magical city, but I’ll leave you to choose if you wish to believe them. All I know, is that I’m staying well away from this city at night, because it does have a magical energy that I don’t want to mess with.
Anyway, the castles of Sintra are like a real life fairytale. Weave through a choice of five different palaces and discover Sintra’s rich history and stories.
It was as if the gods had turned against me in Lagos.
Not only waking up with the sort of too-shaky-to-pour-water and swaying-as-I-walked hangover (okay, okay, I know it was self inflicted, but I still felt sorry for myself), as I began the cliff walk my “fully charged” Go Pro mysteriously died, and my iPhone began to idle at less than 20% battery. Due to this, photos were limited on this incredible walk, which I guess left me more time to take it all in.
As a city, I didn’t fall in love with Lagos as I’d hoped, however the scenery of the cliff walk was simply out of this world. With sea water ice cold and every beach I passed so secluded, I couldn’t think of a better way to nurse my ‘hangover from hell’.
I am raring to go back to this beautiful country and hope one day I can spend a couple of months simply to explore Lisbon and all it has to offer. For now though, more countries are to be crossed.
Where to next?
South East Asia!
Cherise Joelle x