The city that smells like freshly washed clothes and dried flower bouquets. Lisbon positively surprised me and stole my heart with every step (…and there were many of them) of the way during my 5 day stay! It is easily my new favorite city in Europe. The people are so unbelievably friendly and warm, it’s hard not to feel welcome. And as I was travelling all by myself I didn’t feel self conscious or insecure for one moment.
Yes – that’s right, I went all by myself! Last year was a year with many happenings. And some of them took a lot of me to say the least… Therefore, I took myself on a trip for a breather and some fresh air. A tick in the box for option 6 on taking yourself on a date!
Waterfalls at sunset
So there I was, on the first day of my trip wandering the streets of Lisbon all by myself. I was enjoying all the impressions of the beautiful buildings, the people, the smells and the overall vibe of the city, all the while I was giving myself a mental pep talk about doing this trip by myself and that I was going to be fine.
I had a full day of walking and exploring behind me and the sun was slowly turning everything orange, it was warm and I was thirsty. So I decided to stop and treat myself to a cold beer and a snack! Not too difficult, choices enough in this city! I looked around and I saw some bars and restaurants. I walked up towards them when all of a sudden some guy stepped out of a bar and persuaded me to have a seat. His sole mission was to fill his terrace with tourists. I wasn’t sure about this guy and his bar at all… but I was too shy to back out of it and ordered a beer and some tomato mozzarella bruschetta’s (My thought being… what can go wrong with that?… well…). I felt really uncomfortable the whole time I sat there and the beer and bruschetta didn’t satisfy me at all. So I gulped it all down and got the hell out of there. Lesson learned, always trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to say no!
Walking on while contemplating my poor decision and lack of spirit to say no, I passed an old brown café sort of space. The door was opened and music was coming out. There was nobody inside but a band that was rehearsing. For some reason I couldn’t set another step, the music glued my feet to the ground, I had to stay and listen. As I listened at the door, my eyes were filling up with tears.
A guy was looking at me from across the street. He walked up to me and introduced himself as Daniel from Brazil. He told me he was part of the band and that they were traveling Europe to promote their music. I tried to pull a straight face trying to fight the tears while we were talking.
He said that I could go inside to see the band play… I didn’t want to be rude and the music sounded really good, so I stepped inside. The band played on, three guys started singing and I cracked! Tears were pouring out of my eyeballs and it felt like I was one of those manga cartoon figures that explodes into a waterfall of tears. So I ran out, my face completely red and soaked…
Daniel, still waiting outside, obviously surprised by my tear-explosion, asked if I was ok. I said that I was and told him why I was crying. He told me about his journey to Europe with his band, and that he had to leave his mother behind despite her illness and that made him feel very lonely at times. He stayed chatting a little bit without any agenda, making sure I was feeling fine again.
It was nice to have this brief human connection and strangely it lightened my mood immediately. Nowadays people tend to look the other way when someone we don’t know is sad or emotional. So therefore, thank you Daniel for hanging around to make sure I was ok! Also, thank you to the band, I really didn’t meant to cry like that. Your music just opened my pandora box of feelings. That could be considered a compliment I guess…
Places I stuffed my face
Apart from crying and training my calves on those seven hills… I also had food, and a lot of it! If walking about 15 km every day isn’t justification enough to stop for snacks every hour or so, I don’t know what is. Also, what is it with holidays and being hungry all the time… Is it just me? It’s like my body and soul are literally refueling or something.
Honestly, I didn’t take any effort finding the hotspots (blugh, hate that word) on TripAdvisor. I just walked in some place whenever I felt hungry (all the time basically) and if it appealed to me. I discovered some great places to stuff your face & soul and relax your calves! So here are my personal recommendations that I would like to share:
R. Dom Pedro V 56-D
I enjoyed this place so much, I went to have lunch here twice! They have this beautifully decorated terrace with comfortable spots under the trees. And the best thing yet, an amazing panorama of the city! This place is hidden behind a store, so to get to it you’ll have to go through the shop.
Rua da Boavista 116
This cosy restaurant serves some interesting African dishes, tasty cocktails and jazz music on the side.
Rua do Salvador 64A
Everything on their menu is either vegetarian or vegan. So I you had enough of all the fish and meat, like I did, you can go here for the veggies! Had a lovely vegan curry in this tiny restaurant.
Praça da Armada 31
This was somewhat of a fancy restaurant and their prices where a little higher than the standard in Lisbon. However, I had dinner here on the last evening of my trip and it was totally worth it!
Rua do Possolo 52
I stopped here several times for coffee as it was on my way from my Airbnb. Honestly the best lattes in Lisbon! Also, the serve a mean pumpkin pie that make your taste buds explode!
R. do Olival 42
Awesome place to have breakfast as it has everything your morning heart can desire: coffee, croissants, eggs in all desirable forms, bread with jam, tea and juice… well, everything!
Rua Prior do Crato 6
A pub with a laaaaaarge beer menu! The bar dudes are extremely friendly and know everything about their beers. Of course I also had snacks here and they were gooood.
R. Rodrigues de Faria
On an old industrial site just outside the city centre, you’ll find this arty place with a very relaxing atmosphere. I can definitely advise you to go here for several hours to do some serious chilling around and stuffing of the face! You can go there for lunch and dinner time and often there is live music playing somewhere in the evenings. This is where I hung out, but there are so many more things to eat over there, so check them out!
- Time out market
- Café na fábrica
- Restaurant The therapist
I had the best time in Lisbon and I can really recommend paying this lovely city a visit! If you do, please share your recommendations because I am definitely going back here!