Myself and Dee were lucky enough to go on a week long holiday to Lisbon this summer. To say we have the post-holiday blues would be an understatement...we're back nearly two weeks but it feels like a lifetime!!
Lisbon is THE most beautiful city I have ever visited. It is so colourful, vibrant and interesting. There is a very relaxed way about the place, and at times you simply forget you are in a capital city, which I love. It is a city that you can't seem to get lost in (which I also love) and believe me, Dee and I have been lost many times in many different places, so trust me on that one.
Architecturally, the old and new seem to blend together seamlessly, with derelict buildings almost adding to the whole vibe of the city. The traditional tiled walls of these neglected houses and shops are too beautiful to demolish (I think!), making them more of an endearing feature rather than an eyesore. Speaking of tiles...if you are into, or in my case semi-obsessed with tiles then you will FREAK in Lisbon. I stopped about 72,000 times to take photographs of tiles. Dee was far too polite to tell me to calm the f**k down, but drew the line when I asked if we could go to the National Tile Museum. Yes, I am that much of a loser.
Lisbon is the perfect city when you think about it. Here's why
I love Lisbon because it....
...is situated right next to the beautiful ocean, and has a stunning Golden Gate-esque suspension bridge
...enjoys a Mediterranean climate that us Irish are weak at the knees for
...has lovely tiles
...is a stones throw (more like a tram ride) away from the beach
...has a very chilled out atmosphere despite being a capital city with a population of over 3 million
...has a National Tile Museum
...is steeped in history, being the oldest city in Western Europe (predating Rome and oh mon dieu, Paris by hundreds of years!!)
Now, I can't really say much about outdoor activities that don't involve lounging, eating, drinking, lying on grass etc. because obviously it's us and we hate all that with every fibre of our beings. But I did overhear people talking about surfing and watersports being nearby, god bless them, so that's great. I can, however, comment on the food. We ate a crappy meal at the first restaurant we set our eyes on on our first night due to exhaustion, so I'd prefer not to relive that experience here. From then on though, every single thing we ate was delicious. We kind of steered clear of bigger, more touristy restaurants and made our way down the smaller streets to eat. A friend of ours told us to pick places that looked crappy on the outside, which we did. We were not disappointed. The food was so fresh and delicious and so, so reasonable. It really was one of the highlights for me.
We stayed in a beautiful hostel called 'The Independente' which is excellently located in Bairro Alto. The building itself is gorgeous, with high ceilings and huge windows in the dorms, making them very bright and airy. There's also triple decker bunkbeds which I thought was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Every single person on my snapchat contact list received a picture of those bunkbeds. There's also The Decadente bar and restaurant which is popular with guests and tourists alike, and the food is scrumptious. The staff are super friendly too. Having stayed in some dodgy hostels, I was very, very impressed with this one.
I liked Bairro Alto, it seemed like it was the more bohemian part of the city. I found an amazing record shop there by chance, and treated myself to some new records, including Astrud Gilberto and Sister Sledge woowoo. The area has a lot of craft shops and art galleries dotted along the streets, each one with a beautiful smiling face inside to chat and joke with you (the people are amazing!).
It's basically the best city, and I miss it loads. While we were there myself and Dee decided that Lisbon was our spiritual home and I genuinely believe that it is somewhere I could be very, very happy for a very long period of time. We had some serious laughs, ate some wonderful food, danced to some amazing music and made lots of lovely new friends from all over the world and I cannot wait to go back.
Oh ya and we went to a music festival too, we cried during Interpol, danced like mad things at the Arctic Monkeys and MGMT were so good that it gave me a nosebleed. More on that later.