I have officially made my first trip out of San Sebastián of the semester, and no better starting place than Lisbon, Portugal. On Thursday evening five friends and I boarded an overnight, 13 hour train, extremely excited for our Portuguese expedition. The trip was eventful from the start. Around 2:30am when I was passed out drooling, about 15 Portuguese border patrol abruptly shook me awake fully armed. I thought I was getting deported honestly, but instead they asked me for my passport and then proceeded on. It was pretty scary and in the moment I felt that it was overly cautious of them to be in bullet vests and carrying guns. Reflecting now, I definitely understand the motives for the security measures these countries take. Anyone or anything could be on these trains and the governments are only trying to protect its citizens and harmless visitors, and I am not as cranky about the abrupt wake up call now as I definitely was in the moment.
Finally, we arrived in Lisbon around 7:30am Friday and we were all starving. Our first mission: food. Thereafter: AirBnB. Shortly, we discovered that when people told us Lisbon is a very steep, hilled city they truly meant it. By the time we reached a cafe near our AirBnB, I am pretty sure I walked up 5,000 stairs (maybe an exaggeration but let me tell you that mile from the train to our check in point was ALL up hill). The streets are all cobblestone and beautiful, (though a bit slippery!) and the views made the trek bearable. Friday was a day of exploring and fun, we saw monuments, did some shopping, and my favorite part was our happy hour at a small bar/café right on the port. We had a blast, and then ate an amazing dinner from one of the best views in the city at sunset (ties for my favorite part of the day). At the restaurant, as soon as the sun was setting behind the buildings, the staff brought us all blankets in case we got cold! Literally felt like a royal princess. That night we went out to a discotec called “Lux” which was very interesting… definitely had fun with my friends but I can honestly say I don’t understand house music and I don’t think I ever will. It was definitely a worthy experience though, especially because everyone we met seemed to be from a different country!
Saturday morning we woke up (a bit late) (a little tired) ready for the day. We had breakfast at the cutest place called Cafe Nicolau that served fresh smoothies, açai bowls, pancakes, eggs Benedict, you name it! One of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life. We followed up this yummy event with a trip to the famous flea market and a stop at the Rua Augusta Arch, or otherwise known as the Arch of Light. Both were amazing sites to see. The flea market was full of incredible culture wherever you would look, from the people selling wares to the antiques they were vending to the amazing tile mural that served as their background. I was definitely a little more cautious when walking around, but it was worth it to see so much in such a small area. We finished the day roaming the streets, popping into stores, viewing some amazing little nooks and eating some ice cream. Before we departed, we all got to try the country’s famous codfish cakes and pastel de nata, (pastel de nata>codfish cake). Another overnight train and late-night border patrol encounter later, and our 2-day excursion came to an end. Definitely wish I could have had a little more time to travel here, but all the more reason to return to Lisbon in the future!
This trip definitely taught me some lessons about traveling… the main one being PLAN AHEAD! In the future, I will definitely be making a more concrete itinerary with my traveling companions to make the most of our time. Lisbon is truly an incredible, breathe-taking city; I am so lucky to have the chance to visit so many more places in the remainder of the semester, as well as explore this little jewel of a city called San Sebastián, Spain that I call my home.
Thanks for following along! Below I have some photos from the trip. Up next, I’ll be at Oktoberfest with the one and only Natalie Souleyrette. Truly going to be one for the books… can’t wait to share it with you all!
(pictured: view of rooftops, street car in distance, Mariana’s dinner, sunset view at dinner, part of tile mural at the flea, Mar and me at the Arch, a cute building with simple street art I liked, a layout at the flea)