Visiting Porto, Portugal

After my Saudi Arabia trip, I had a day and a half back in Zurich before I was on a plane again. This time it was for pleasure – Tony, Matilda and I were flying to Porto, Portugal for my boss’ wedding.

I had visited Lisbon a few years earlier and loved it, so I was really looking forward to this trip. Porto is just as cute and quaint and hilly. However, there were less tourists than in Lisbon which made it easier to navigate.

Also like Lisbon, tile covered many of the buildings. This is one of my favorite things about Portugal in general – this colorful tile is so incredibly unique to the area and even more lovely to gaze at.  It can make any old building an instant masterpiece.

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Porto is also the city of Port wine. Unfortunately for me, though, I hate Port wine. Back in high school, I worked part time at a country club and I remember watching all of the rich people drinking Port wine with their dessert. I was often situated as the “dessert girl” or “official ice cream scooper”, so that, plus Port, always brings back memories of cold and sticky hands (from the ice cream).  And honestly, the taste of Port is far too sweet for my palate.

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A few of the must-see sights in Porto include:

Livraria Lello

This book shop, founded in 1881, inspired JK Rowling’s design of Hogwarts.  When she was teaching English in Porto, she spent a lot of time here.

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Sao Bento Railway Station

The station boasts gorgeous tiled scenary throughout the main entrance and is a must see in Porto.

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Dom Luis I Bridge

The bridge is double decker and crosses over the Douro River.  The top is meant for walking and the tram, and the bottom is meant for cars.  There are stunning views of the river’s edge when driving through it.

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Anyway, aside from the beauty of Porto which we enjoyed, we also had an incredible wedding to attend. Matilda was the most beautiful guest of all in her cute white dress. Tony and I also used it as an opportunity to take our annual anniversary photos – 7 years! – which of course featured Matilda.

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The wedding included a mini-Fado concert by the very popular Cristina Branco. She. Was. Amazing. The voice on this woman was unlike anything I’d ever heard in person before. She was so incredibly talented, and we spotified her music for the rest of the trip.

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The wedding ended with delicious red velvet cake and laterns released into the sky.  Tony and I were so incredibly thankful for this opportunity to visit Porto.  We celebrated love and all of the gifts life has to offer.

Next up is Boston, and it’s quite a douzy of a trip….

What the Missus Wore: Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon was such an amazing trip, and given the not-so-great summer Zurich has been having thus far, I was dying to bust out some of my summer favorites.

Given Lisbon is on the water, it did get a bit chilly at night.  The first evening we were in Lisbon was beautiful, but the breeze did force us to dress a bit more warmly.  As I always love to add color to my outfits, I paired my favorite polka dot blazer with some turquoise.  This yellow former palace made for a great background.

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What the Missus Wore:  Blazer from Anthropologie (similar here)// jeans by Paige denim// sandals from Seychelles// clutch from 31 bits

The next day we went thrifting at the Feira da Ladra flea market.  The sun was shining and it was such a stunning day – I figured my yellow dress would go well with the colorful buildings.

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What the Missus Wore:  Dress by Anthropologie (similar here)// sandals from Lanapo//hat and sunglasses from H&M//necklace from Stella & Dot

One of our last days was spent on the beach.  It was so incredible to finally be able to lay in the sun, although my skin is still mad at me from the wicked sunburn I got.  This blue dress is one of my favorites for summer – works as a great cover up and can easily be dressed up for a fancier night out.  The bandana actually doubled as a beach cover up and towel as well – so versatile!

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What the Missus Wore:  Dress from Modcloth//sunglasses from H&M

Happy summer everyone!

Lisbon, Portugal

Last week I was lucky enough to meet one of my best friends in Lisbon, Portugal.  Neither of us had been, and she was heading over to Braga for a work conference.  Given how close she would be to Zurich, it would have been a shame to not take her up on the invite, and we had 5 nights planned to spend in Lisbon together.

I had rented an apartment through AirBnB within Chiado, one of the more popular districts in the city.  The drive from the airport was flat until we got closer to the water – then we were up and down cobblestone streets that were paved over the hills that make up Lisbon.  The width of the street the apartment was on barely fit a Mini Cooper.  Clothing hung from lines outside apartment windows three levels up and chatter could be heard from the outdoor seating of local restaurants.

My friend and I arrived late on Thursday so we didn’t do much except walk to the local square for a bottle of wine and some snacks.  For 3 of us it was 27 Euros.  I hadn’t seen prices that cheap since I could last remember.

Friday morning found us up at a reasonable hour – mostly because there was construction right across the street!  We knew we wanted to try out a Sandeman’s walking tour in order see the city and learn a bit more about Lisbon.  It ended up being a great idea because we got a sense for the city and learned all of the fun tidbits about Lisbon to go along with it.

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Where the revolution happened in 1974

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Luiz de Camoes – famous Portuguese poet

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Crack in the church due to earthquake

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Not only did we learn some interesting tidbits, but the city is GORGEOUS.  The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze off the bay that made for the perfect weather.  The city is also extremely hilly, even more so than Zurich is, so we definitely got a workout in while we learned about Lisbon.

A few fun facts that we took away:

  • In 1755 there was a massive earthquake that triggered a tidal wave that destroyed the city.  The king at the time was so freaked out that he lived in a tent the rest of his days and commissioned his BFF to rebuild the city.
  • Chiado was the famous literary part of town.  There was an author named Fernando Pessoa who was so schizophrenic that he had 137 different characters he wrote books as.
  • The 1974 revolution was actual done in a very peaceful manner.  Only 2 shots were fired and they were both warning shots.
  • The world’s oldest still-operating book store is right in Chiado. It was a good opportunity to buy Harry Potter in Portuguese.
  • There are tons of buildings covered with tiles.  The tiles that are of geometric design stem from the Moors where they were religiously forbidden from drawing anything from nature.

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That night found us in the youthful part of town, thanks to the recommendation of our college student tour guide.  We wandered around with our sangria, just marveling at the tile and carefully watching where we stepped – up and down cobblestone hills with some adult beverages does not always equal a safe time.

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Saturday we headed over to the famous flea market Feira da Ladra to do some shopping.  It was a sea of vendors, all selling really interesting things.  I was able to purchase some porcelain swallows (the bird) to hang in the house and a lovely, made in Portugal espresso cup/saucer set.  Total price?  35 euros, BOOM!

I was told by the person who sold me the swallows that they are good luck – every year they migrate from Africa to Lisbon and bring luck to the city.  Whether or not it’s true, the birds are darling and I wanted to bring some luck to my own home.

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The next two days were spent at the beach getting some sun – and sun we did get!  I did the most horrific job of applying sunscreen in the history of the world.  I have the weirdest white spots across my body, and the sun was incredibly powerful.

However, it was totally worth it.  We were in Cascais the first day and hung out on the main beach – the water was really cold but perfect to dip in to cool myself down.

The second day we went a bit further past Cascais to Praia do Guincho, a gorgeous beach where the wind was almost as high as the waves.  This was where the surfers came and the majority of tourists didn’t know about.  We were more secluded here, and took in some awesome kite surfing views.

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We spent our last night back in the youthful part of town, sharing our favorite stories from the trip and sipping some Rose wine.

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I enjoyed Lisbon so much that I would jump at the chance to return.  It is such a special and unique place, well worth a second look.

Vá e divirta-se!  Obrigada!