Sorry this has taken me so long, I've been super busy working on very exciting things at my work placement, but anyway here goes:
Once when I was talking to my friend Marin (who I love and who is hilarious), we were discussing Portugal and she said this: "oh well what is there to do except get tan n be gay?" (referencing Cristiano Ronaldo).
Let me say that as much as I love to make fun of Ronaldo, there is sooo much more than that! PORTUGAL IS ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE and if I spoke more than a few phrases of portuguese I would seriously seriously consider moving there in the near future. Seriously. I'd start somewhere by getting a job at the wonderful hostel I stayed at and then move into a little apartment in the Barrio Alto and spend my nights out on the street grilling food and listnening to music with my new Portuguese friends. It needs to happen. SERIOUSLY.
Alex and I got in to Portugal late last Thursday night and by the time we found our hostel (which was spectacular on so many levels) it was about 10:30 pm and we chatted with some nice people staying there and then settled in and eventually went to sleep.
The next morning we started exploring the city in the pouring rain. Even though the weather was awful, it didn't stop us appreciating the beauty or fun of the city! We walked around and found ourselves at the top of the giant Elevador da Bica which has a lovely view. Right next to it is the Convento do Carmo which is an old church/convent that fell in during an earthquake hundreds of years ago. It is just stunning to look inside, it's really like nothing else I've ever seen and is quite beautiful! From there we wandered and went to some beautiful miradouros/viewpoints. Then we walked all around the Barrio Alto which is just the coolest place everrrr and I love it. And we had the worlds yummiest mini steak-like thing there. After that we headed to the Belém district and went to a huge old cathedral and cloisters and stuff and then headed to the contemporary art museum which was suchhhhh a great space but it wasn't utilized to it's full potential i think. After all that, HEAVEN. We went to Cafe de Pasteis de Belem and OH MY GOD I swear I just about died when I ate one of their pastry thingies. I can't een begin to describe how good they are other than the fact that on our last day in Portugal in just a few hours Alex and I bought 10 more of the things from various cafes around Lisbon.
We made it back to Barrio Alto pretty late and decided to explore a little bit of the night life there. IT IS PERFECT. The steep narrow old beautiful streets are lit up with Christmas lights and colorful banners of triangle flags are strung up cross crossing over your head and music (most of the time live music!) comes from a different source around every corner. People stand out in the middle of the street and talk and drink and grill fish and play catch and football. It is such a vibrant and friendly and carefree atmosphere, I love it!
The following day at the suggestion of one of the nicest guys ever who worked at the hostel, we took the famous (i guess?) tram 28 and went to the Alfama area. Absolutely gorgeous. The weather in the beginning was also awful and rainy but it got much better as the day passed. We saw some incredible views of the city and also saw a lot of churches. We kept getting lost and wandered the streets a lot but it was sooo pretty and nice and fun. Eventually we found the "Thieves' Market" which is just what I always imagined a dream market would be like. Like the brighton sunday market but times 10,000 and mostly on the ground and not tables and stalls. I got the cutest dress in the world for 5 euros and also a big cool old portrait photograph of a portuguese soldier guy for 4 euros. Score! After that we visited some other church and cloister and museum of tiles/azulejos that was unintentionally hilarious because of al these weird fable stories in it. Then we ate more pasteis de nata and walked up to the castle which is gorgeousssssssssss as expected and had more views of the city, hooray!
Later that night we made it back to the hostel where we had dinner with Ana who works there and is one of the absolute nicest friendliest and most genuine people I've met while traveling. It was so nice and fun! Then around 10:30 Alex and I headed out to this miradouro we had been to the day before because there was a small festival with free concerts going on that night! We went and it was SO MUCH FUN! I can't even describe how great it was, but I have two short videos of it so maybe those will help. After that we walked back and strolled Barrio Alto again because we are in love with it and then walked a block or two over to our hostel.
Next day we went to the new design museum and saw some amazing exhibits that were pretty thought provoking! Thennnnnn we basically spent the rest of the day walking around the downtown area and eating more pastries. Our flight was supposed to be at 9 pm butttttt we ended up getting back to brighton at 3:30 am. And I woke up the next morning at 6 am to hit the road for my internship. FUN! Nooooo but it was 1,000,000,000% worth it. I LOVE YOU PORTUGAL, YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I'VE BEEN (besides Ireland maybe but that is different!), AND I CAN'T WAIT TO RETURN!!!!!
Plenty more pictures of the pretty place here.
And some short little videos (that I want you to watch because I think they give you a taste of how incredibly cool it is there) here.