I have been waiting for months for this trip! Back in February my dad called me and asked if I wanted to take a trip to Portugal with him to visit his sisters. I didn’t think twice, I was totally down with the idea and agreed right away. At first I was under the impression that it was only me and him but I was stoked when I found out that he was also getting tickets for both my brother and sister as well. It was so easy to say yes and agree to a trip that seemed like a life time away. I didn’t have to think too much since we had so much time till the trip actually was going to happen. He booked the trip in February and we weren’t actually leaving until July so we had a lot of time to prep.
Fast forward to June and it was all so real and close which of course meant it was planning time! I started looking up places to visit, sights to see, stores to shop at and restaurants to eat at. Turns out, I didn’t even need to do any of that because by the time I got here (yes, Ive started writing this blog while I am actually in Portugal)I didn’t even need to plan things out. Everything was beautiful and picture worthy. Just walking to the grocery store or the cafe could be turned into a mini photoshoot!
As I am starting this blog I have already been in Portugal for a week and there hasn’t been a dull day. Everyday there is something to do and it always brings us right up to about bed time. The first two days we did some Palace tours of some of the famous Palaces in the Lisbon area. Of course the Palaces are huge so it took some time to go through the whole thing and take it all in. Each of those days we also stopped at two different malls (indoor and outdoor) for dinner and some walking around. I personally loved the time at the mall on the first two days because it allowed me to do some “style research”. I enjoyed looking through their boutiques and finding out what their current trends were! FYI: platform shoes are HUGE in Portugal along with wedges, and cork! Cork shoes, cork bags and cork wallets. I was happy I brought along my chunky black wedges! (Palace de Queluz, Portugal)
(Palacio Nacional de Pena. Sintra, Portugal)
It was colder then expected the first few days so we foundourself picking up some colder weather clothing; longer pants, long sleeve shirts, and cardigans while at the mall. Of course we planned on hotter weather since we were leaving Boston where it was currently 90 degrees. We were shocked when the average temp in Lisbon was about 67-70degrees. It worked out perfect though because when you leave Sintra, where we are staying, its actually about 5-8 degrees warmer. it ended up working out Perfectly!Funny story, Last time I was in Portugal (17 years ago), I took a picture with an oversized life size stuffed bear. I remember seeing the pictures but when we were at the mall after the day at the Queluz palace I saw the bear and the memories came flooding back! I actually remembered taking the picture 17 years ago and HAD to recreate the pic!
After the first few days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) of touristy things like museums, palaces and hikes we started to stay more around the area where my dad grew up. He showed us his school, the house he grew up in, the parks he played at, and the places all the kids would spend their time. It was crazy how fast time started to go by. Saturday we drove toward the beach area and walked around. It was too cold to go swimming so we just walked around the area and got diner by the water. This is where I had the worlds best chocolate cake, later to find out its just their microwavable chocolate cake. How in the world can their microwave cake be better than any other chocolate cake I’ve had? Eating by the water was one of my favorite parts of this vacation and lucky for me, we did it many times! I was actually surprised how many days we spend by the beach considering both me and my dad aren’t huge fans of sand lol!
(The amazing chocolate cake)
Sunday we of course went to church! We had to visit my Uncles church on the other side of the bridge and it made for an awesome day spent with my aunt and uncle. After church, we went to their apartment, which was GORGEOUS. We sat there for about an hour or two waiting for my uncle then went out to eat. The place we ate at was on a street that was basically all restaurants.
It was hard to chose but eventually we went to an amazing pizza place called “Mafia Pizza”. When we got back to the house that we are staying at, we started to plan out the following week and THIS is when time started to feel like it was going by so fast. We wanted to take a road trip to Madrid and make a few stops along the way and planning this out so that we could make it back to Portugal and still have a few days left to visit more friends and family was tough.
Monday we ending up spending the entire day on the beach, which was awesome but also extremely tiring. This beach day was totally different than our first beach day where we just walked around and ate. This beach day consisted of the whole 9-yards. We got there around 11am, rented our beach chairs and umbrellas, laid out, tanned, chatted, took pictures, ate and tanned some more. I wore my one-piece bathing suit which I regretted. Usually I don’t tan too easily but even sitting under the umbrella I managed to get sun burned. Not pretty! However, I did get some real pretty pictures lol!
From Tuesday through Friday we were road tripping! To and from Madrid. Road trips can be very fun but this one, I think I slept about 75% of the time. Its one thing to be driving through city’s and having things to look but this trip all the way through was just grass. literally grass for miles and miles and miles. I guess thats why I would fall asleep every hour. Other than that, the driving wasn’t that bad. When ever we got tired of it, we stopped to get a coffee, walk around and visit the random towns we’ve never heard of. We were able to take our time, drive slow and take everything in because we didnt have anything planned out. We didn’t have hotels pin pointed and booked along the way. We stopped when we were tired and found one with vacancy for the night. Because of this, we were able to stay in Porto Portugal, Madrid Spain and Plasencia Spain. It was such a beautiful experience.
I would have to say Porto was my favorite stop. Considering my taste and style, I thought it had the most beautiful aesthetic. It reminded me a lot of what I would say Italy, or Barcelona would look like. Antique architecture, photogenic ally ways and endless outdoor shopping strips. I fell in love with Porto but unfortunately I didn’t get any great pictures there which I regret. I guess I was just taking it all in and enjoying the moment. (I also had sweats on so I didn’t want to be taking any pics lol). It wasn’t in my plans to enjoy Porto more than Madrid so I didn’t have a outfit planned out like I should have. I could have bet myself a million dollars it would be the opposite, but it wasn’t.
Madrid was ok. It was a beautiful city but it reminded me a lot of Boston. It had its charm but everything was under construction, it was congested, and kinda smelt like sewer.It was our final destination so we actually spent two days there (one night).The first day mostly consisted of walking around, taking in the city, finding a hotel and eating dinner. This night happened to be my absolute favorite for dinner. We ate my favorite: Mexican food and it was the first time I actually ate ALL of my food.
The second day in Madrid we visited the Real Madrid stadium and took a tour of the entire thing. I wasn’t dressed for the occasion but it was fun and very interesting to see. Im not a huge sports fan but I love the hype around soccer. Its such a team driven sport and I love the atmosphere of the fans. After this, we did what we did best; found the “Outdoor Shopping Center” and walked around for the rest of the afternoon. We went to Gucci, LV and other designer stores to compare prices to here in the US. My dad bought some sunglasses but they didn’t have the specifics of bags and wallets that I wanted so I decided to just save my money till next time.
Toward the end of day two in Madrid we headed back to the car and got back on the road back towards Portugal. Our next stop was my aunts house in Fundao Portugal (which is basically the country side of Portugal).My aunts house was absolutely gorgeous. Its what anyone would imagine a Portuguese house in the middle of the country to look like. They had fruit trees of all different kinds, a pool, a pond with fish and turtles, and a cute outdoor table to sit and have your morning cup of coffee. Apparently this was the house my family stayed in the last time we were in Portugal but I didn’t really remember it at all. Nothing rang a bell. However, it was fun to pick fresh berries and chat outside for a while!
We got back from our road trip on Friday night. That night, we got back and had dinner with our aunt that lives closer to the apartment that we were staying at. The next few days, believe it or not were our last days in Europe. We were leaving Tuesday morning so we only had three days left for doing day trips and different activities. At this point in the vacation, I had split feelings. I was enjoying my time of course, and there was so much more that I wanted to do and see but at the same time, I was ready to go home and get back to a routine of things.
The last few days that we were there flew by. The first day back, we went back to the beach and spent the entire day there. It was beautiful weather and was extremely relaxing to just lay on the beach for hours! Bryanna went jet skiing, Zach went swimming and I tried very hard to even out my terrible tan! That was Saturday. On Sunday we visited my Dads aunts and spent the day hopping from house to house visiting family members/meeting family members lol. Everyone was really sweet. It was funny because at each house we were offered food. I don’t think I’ve even eaten so much in my life!
That night we decided that we were going to make the best out of our last full day there and planned to go back towards the beach on Monday and walk around for the day. We had driven past this beautiful area on our way to the beach on Saturday and we all agreed that we should return to do some last minute sightseeing and walking around, so thats what we did. I think it was a successful last day! My dad was able to catch up with his childhood friend that he hadn’t seen in about 30 years and that was awesome to witness. It was an awesome experience seeing and hearing all about my dads childhood. It was really cool to live through, and walk down the streets that he spent his childhood life hanging out on!
Over all, I had an awesome time and im so glad I agreed to going on this trip. It was a wonderful experience in such a beautiful country and I will definitely be going back to visit very soon! Next time I go to Europe I will 100% be visiting Barcelona though! I may not have enjoyed Madrid as much as I expected but I know for sure I will fall in love with Barcelona!
Every time I travel I get this weird anxiety about it. I stress about the whole week before and over think every little detail. Then I get on the flight, I land and spend my time there. As soon as its time to get back on the plane to come home, Im already planning to do it all over again! It a weird kind of addiction I must have with traveling and planning trips. Does anyone else get this way?
Hopefully it won’t be long till this “little Fashion Blogger” is posting another “little Travel Blog”!!