Monday, 2 November 2015

Europe Travels: Lisbon, Portugal

16/6: Lisbon, Portugal

Manchester > Glasgow > Edinburgh > Scottish Highlands > Aberdeen > Lisbon
We took a morning flight at 6:05 from Aberdeen to Lisbon and stayed overnight at the airport. The airport could well be our second home already since we had stayed in airports for a couple of times. We were already used to its environment haha!!

We bought Mackie's chips for our overnight snack at only £1+! I really liked these potato crisps because of their authentic potato flavour and they were so crisp and addictive. Later, I found out that Singapore sells these at $5+ per pack which is kinda ridiculously priced.

Our stopover was at London Heathrow airport and I got iced cafe latte and a sandwich to accompany me during the wait.

2nd breakfast onboard Virgin Atlantic

The joy of occupying a window seat is that I get to admire the vast blue sky at a seemingly closer proximity. Look at those tiny cute patches of clouds!

Haggard face after pulling an all-nighter x_x

Olá Lisboa! This was taken in the neighbourhood near our hostel.

We were famished and our first stop was of course to savour the famous portugese egg tarts at Pastéis de Belém which was established in 1837! Now, that is impressive for a bakery to survive for almost 2 centuries. This unassuming traditional cafe is quite a huge one with hundreds of seats available for dining in. There is always a queue but since they are quite efficient in serving their customers, the wait will not be a long one.

 Up till this point, the most memorable food that I had tried in Europe were Swedish meatballs and Pastéis de Belém's Portugese egg tarts. These little egg tarts were seriously the best that I ever had. These little goodies were freshly out of the oven every time I ordered them and as a result of being overly excited to try them, I burnt my fingers ._. I had 5 in one sitting and had to control myself from eating more. If you like the egg tarts from KFC, imagine this being at least 10 times nicer. Think crisp and crackly crust, coupled with soft and smooth custard with just the right amount of sweetness, and served piping hot! The contrasting flavours were a heavenly combination.

My third and last round of purchase
I couldn't resist and got a random snack (bacalhau) from the selection to try as well. It was already  cold and thus was not enjoyable but the egg tarts were still as fantastic as my first bite.

Right across the bakery is Jardim de Belém and I spotted this pretty lavender tree which had blossomed so beautifully.

Statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portguese general and an empire builder, with Belém National Palace in the background.

Padrão dos Descobrimento aka Monument to the Discoveries
This monument looks really interesting and unique as compared to the other typical-looking monuments.

25th of April bridge
This functional suspension bridge is visually similar to the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, isn't it?

I got a portuguese sausage from Frangasqueira Nacional as I was too full for their mains (after stuffing myself with all that egg tarts). The man manning the shop was not friendly and seemed very impatient with us. There was a 360 degrees change in his attitude when he served his European customers :( So far, we had encountered a couple of Europeans who seemed to display a racist attitude towards us. /sigh

Sticky nutty almond pastry from a local pastry cafe
There are plenty of portuguese bakeries around, each selling a wide selection of yummy-looking pastries and local snacks. Since I love bread and pastries, these bakeries are heaven on earth for me!

We passed by this back lane filled with graffiti on the way home. One of the reasons I love Lisbon is because of the many graffiti and street arts which give this city a vibrant personality.

Day 2: 17/6

Weather check: 33°
The previous day, it got to about 18° in the evening (and windy) so I brought my jacket out. However, the weather was not favourable and it only got hotter throughout the day :(

Lisbon's metro

..before I sweated madly

Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls - a 17th century church and monastery

Cute tram packed like sardines
The local buses are very small as well, almost like the size of a huge van.

Check out these uniquely Portuguese tiles embellishing the exterior of these houses. There are plenty of such decorative tiles in Lisbon and they are such a pretty sight.

One of the traditionally tiled houses in Lisbon.

Viewpoint of Senhora do Monte
Dubbed the highest point in the city, this attraction is basically an observation deck, providing visitors with a panoramic view of Lisbon. This place supposedly has the best view of Lisbon, and is very accessible as well. There is a church residing there too.

Spot the 25th of April bridge!

From afar, St. George Castle could be spotted.

Sadly, the scenery could not be seen in the photo :/

Behind this glamorous photo, my waist and butt were sweating because of my jacket and the weather :/

Now I know.. I would avoid summer in Spain at all costs haha

Another photo opportunity with gorgeous tiles and an uphill angle hehehe

Pastel buildings and compact balconies adorned with pretty florals

The streets in Lisbon are decorated with colourful flags and decorative pieces for the Saint Anthony festival in June. These colourful flags do a great job in livening up the atmosphere.

This flamingo street art stood out among the rest and it was such an eye-catching piece.

Igreja de São Domingos

There was a stall selling belgium waffles at the train station and we got one to share. This was my second time trying belgium waffles and I liked it! Give me chocolate and waffles any time.

Lisbon's City Hall

Avenida Ribeira das Naus
There were even tanning chairs by the waterfront - something that we will not see in Singapore. 

pretentious shot right there

Over at the far end is Almada, with an outstanding statue of Jesus atop the Cristo Rei church.

After some sightseeing, we stopped by a random cafe and got a portuguese egg tart to share, which was not bad, but incomparable in terms of taste and quality to the one we had at Pastéis de Belém.

 Lisbon Cathedral

European churches have so much character in them.

St. Anthony Church

Baixa-chiado area filled with shops and restaurants

We explored the Design and Fashion Museum for a while and there were some really interesting and creative showcases. Entry is free of charge and.. stepping into an air-conditioned enclosed area was one of the best feelings ever on that day.

We spotted a street stall selling cherry egg tarts. Because cherries were in the season, we got one to try. Although I dislike cherries, this was really good! I also sampled a cherry and it was so sweet, unlike any others that I had tasted.

Arco Triunfal da Rua Augusta
This arch was built as a commemoration of the city's reconstruction after the earthquake in 1755.

Praça do Comércio - the palace square with a monument of the king on his horse

And it was time to fill our bellies with more food again! We chanced upon Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau which specializes in bacalhau (codfish cake). It was the one I had tried earlier at Pastéis de Belém but this version tasted so much better, partly because it was still warm when I ate it.

I had the bacalhau with cheese and it was surprisingly good since my last experience wasn't quite a pleasant one.

Just one of the many local bakeries around~

Almond egg tart yum! I was spamming my stomach with egg tarts the entire day :P

More food! This time at Gelados Santini :) There was a long queue when we got there and there were many flavours to choose from. I had the chocolate and coffee flavours which were both delicious and especially pleasurable to have after being in the sun for hours.

After we had our gelato, we chanced upon Amorino Artisanal Gelato Maker, another gelato shop which is very popular as well. There was even a tour group that came right after us! Of course, I couldn't resist as well and got 2 different flavours - tiramisu and pistachio. I still prefer the pistachio gelato I had in Cambridge. It was one of the best, if not the best pistachio gelato that I had :')

Church of Sao Roque
One will not have thought much of this seemingly plain-looking church but this is the world's most expensive chapel! 


the ceiling 

Exploring the streets of Lisboa

In love with these tiles!

colourful streets of Lisboa~

Bairro Alto neighborhood - the hotspot for nightlife
During the day, there was little life in this area.

After a long day of walking, we rested for a bit at R. São Pedro de Alcântara. This place has one of the best views of Lisbon as well. 

Another perspective of the castle at the other side of Lisbon

..and more street arts which make an ideal spot for ootd shots.

This unfunctional tram attracted quite a crowd!

Rossio Square and a 23m tall column with a statue of Dom Pedro IV, the King of Portugal.

City center - This touristic area is filled with restaurants and a scary amount of souvenir shops.

For dinner, we had a Portugese meal of grilled fish and fried chicken with potatoes and rice at Restaurante Cerqueira. Yum! We were there at about 6pm and the restaurant was empty even at 7pm. The local people eat their dinner really late!

After our meal, we decided to call it a day.

Beautiful visuals on our way back :)

Yet another local bakery with so many yummy-looking pastries on display! Of course, I couldn't resist checking it out.

I got a chocolate custard egg tart which was so disappointing :(

We had to drag our luggages uphill on these cobbled streets to our hostel and it was such a torture, but look at these graffitied walls! The street art culture is so huge here and it is such a feast for the eyes, especially since I come from a country where graffiti is generally regarded as vandalism.

Thank you Lisbon for feeding me so well. I've enjoyed you except for your insanely hot summer. Goodbye for now, next stop Porto.


  1. Hello, I love your blogging style where I could feel like you are speaking to us, readers. Particularly enjoyed your candid remarks of your entire journey. May I ask if you were to choose, would u prefer porto or lisbon? How many days would u recommend for that choice?

    1. Hi Jiahui, I'm glad you enjoyed the post! It is quite a tough choice for me but if you really have to choose one, I'd say go for Lisbon if you want to do more sightseeing. 3 days will be sufficient. If you have time, you should consider allocating a full day for Porto :)

  2. food, train, building all locations are awesome. i think you have enjoyed a a lot. am wating for next journey.
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