After my work tour ended (see previous post if you are confused) in Paris I headed to Portugal for a much needed vacation. I know that doesn’t sound right since the nine days on tour for work were basically a vacation, but what I needed was a vacation from was group travel. Just envision 43 American tourist, mostly ages 16-18, all trying to make a transfer on the Paris RER (subway). We would all get the notice that it was time to get off by each of shouting to each other that the next stop would be our stop. We would push and shove to get off as soon as the doors would open and then line up in our spots on the wall so the tour leader could walk down and make the head count. The looks from the Parisian we received were pretty special. Just another experience. But like I said I was ready to be on my own travel and responsible for myself.
I went with two of my girl friends to Portugal. We stayed in Lisbon for one night and then Lagos for basically three nights (its basically three nights because we spent our final night on a night bus headed back to Lisbon). What do I have to say about Portugal? It was spectacular. It was beautiful and full of culture. It had a Mediterranean feel on the streets and on the plates. Delicious fish and cheeses. It also was a city that came alive at night. The streets filled with tourist from all over. It was the type of European party city where you start drinking at midnight and stay out till at least 5 am. We hung out in the Bairro Alto area with a few Austrian guys we met at our hostel one night and after we said our goodbyes, I received an email from one of the guys with this message, “coolest handkerchief I have ever met.”No idea what that means but I’ll take my compliments where I can get them.
Lagos was 100 percent a place to go to party. We staying at the Raising Cock hostel which was voted one of the top 10 party hostel’s by CNN. The first thing we did when we checked into our hostel was sign up for the booze cruise, it seemed like a right of passage. The only nationality that was in Lagos was Australian. No joke. Every single person we met was Australian. It made me wonder who was in Australia? I also learned that if you hang with Australian brothers you will most likely leave with a good story… that is all I’m saying.
Simply put Portugal was amazing and I can’t wait to go back to explore more.
Before I share photos from the trip I wanted to focus on food, traditional food. First is a photo of pastel de nata. They are amazing. It is thought that they were originally made by 18th century Catholic monks in a parish in Lisbon. They would use egg-whites to starch their linens so there was leftover egg yolks, so they made custard tarts! And I am sure glad they did. They have a richer consistency than crème brûlée but the same delicate sweetness. The crust is flaky and buttery.
The traditional fish dish is bacalhau, which is salted cod, and is said it can be cooked in 365 different ways; a different way for each region. Mine was a salted cod with potatoes and it had oil will garlic covering it. I had this dish in Lagos and was nervous about what it would taste like but it was amazing. The cod had a harder exterior then a soft, flaky, buttery interior. It was delicate and delicious. They idea of drying and salting the cod was designed to preserve the fish longer because there was no refrigeration.
Now let the pictures begin…
Portugal is known for their Azulejo, “tiles”.
Bairro Alto area in Lisbon
Delicious monk fish dinner!
At night these streets are filled with hundreds of people.
Below is one of the main squares called Praça Infante Dom Henrique
Kayaking in the Grottos.
This is a the toucan burger from Nahnahbah. Huge and delicious and the potato chips with garlic aioli sauce is just as good.l
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