TRAVEL JOURNAL: PORTUGAL.
Finally! – A trip to my homeland.
This particular trip to Portugal holds a very special place in my heart as it’s been one in the making for a very long time.
I’m a mixed baby, but of all the ethnicities running through my bloodstream, I identify the closest with my Portuguese background – and something about being there definitely made me felt like my heart was at home. This can be largely contributed to the overwhelming welcome + love of family currently residing in Portugal, whom I am immensely, emphatically, graciously grateful for.
We started in Porto, then to Fatima, then Lisbon.
PORT WINE TASTING – Must! If you make it all the way to Porto, definitely take a port wine tasting tour, as this where the good stuff originates from! This was actually probably the most informative wine tour I’ve taken to date. And came home with my first 30 YRS aged bottle! I’m thinking of saving it for my 30th birthday…
RESTAURANTS AT THE DOURO RIVER – Fun Fact!: The Dom Luis bridge here is by the same designer as the famous Eiffel Tower — Gustav Eiffel. There’s actually MUCH French + Spanish influence over the entire country of Portugal; a lot of historical sense finally made for me during my time here. There are lots of super cute restaurants lining both sides of the river — We had lunch at Avo Maria — quaint, family owned & operated, and DE-LISH bacalhau (classic Portuguese dish) and salt sea bass… just beware… I don’t do well with eyes on my plate — standard thing here (or most of Europe) but if you’re sweet/lucky/ask nicely, they might remove the reminder of where it came from for you before putting it on your plate.
A LITTLE MAGIC – Majestic Café! Thank me later.
SANCTUARY OF FATIMA – This experience was more personal, familial, and contributed to my spirituality. Whatever your beliefs may be, I whole-heartedly encourage your pursuit of faith to bring you indescribable moments, globally, that may diversely expand your mind, open your heart just a little more, and strengthen your faith profoundly — in Yourself, in your God(s) and/or Goddess(es), in this UNIVERSE. The Holy City of Fatima is one of those magical, sacred places that I feel can only be truly appreciated through the feeling of experience.
CRYSTAL CAVES – Isn’t it interesting how this sacred point on our Earth sits atop mounds and mounds of crystals — nature’s most powerful point of energy; crystal and stone? I, for one, will always be fascinated by and have an affinity for nature’s little big gifts… Totally worth the oouh-ing and ahh-ing! A walk through one of these caves just might help you see things through my eyes…
THESE ARE THE STREETS YOU AND I ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH!
ALFAMA, CHIADO, BAIRRO ALTO – We stayed more central; Casa Amora was THEEE CUTEST guesthouse — I definitely recommend! Just like most major cities, there are many different neighborhoods to explore — all with lots of seafood, lots of shopping, lots of café (espresso) bars, lots of WHITE + BLUE HAND PAINTED TILE that I became so utterly obsessed with that I had to bring an entire dish set home with me!
SINTRA – Must take a day-trip here! This is basically where royalty came for their summer vacations; imagine a little town nestled into lush green hills – colorful palaces resembling Disneyland for days, lots of historical exploration, more shopping (I scored copper cookware for a fraction of the cost here), and Ginja shots — the deal: walk up to a window, take a shot, chase it with chocolate, keep walking/shopping. Sold!
CAISCAS – The next time I head back to Portugal, a full 48 hours of relax-time is happening right here, on the coast, Sav Blanc in hand. Mermaid off duty. DND. Absolutely beautiful!
BELEM – I saved the best for last– Pastéis de Belém changed my sweet-mouth-life! [Yes, it’s an entire sweet-mouth, we’ve accepted I have more than one sweet-tooth a looong time ago.] Forget the donuts. Forget the ice cream. Whatever is in this pastry thing is L I F E. I’m really trying to figure out a way to have them shipped to me within 5 minutes after coming out of the oven… The city itself [Belém] I’m not going to recommend much, but this famous pastry shop is hand-down worth it.
PS: Sharing a little trick with you — when you see that mile-long line outside, don’t be frightened – ditch the thought that you’re going to have to stand in it – and walk right on inside until you find a place to seat yourself – this café is massive; like a maze that keeps on going, and little do most people know that there’s more than likely a seat waiting just for you!
TRAVEL: LIFE’S RESET BUTTON.
I’m a traveller. I find a little bit of home and little more heart in every trip I take. I am aging like fine Port Wine… each experience well-rounding, slowly well-molding me individually; each experience filling me with some sort of new found magic; each experience allowing me to bring a little bit of pixie dust back home…
From my heart + home to your heart + home:
MUITO OBRIGADO A PARTIR DE PORTUGÀL.