Monday, January 14, 2019

Lisbon, Portugal

The first weekender of my four months abroad was Lisbon! I was so excited to go to Lisbon, but (TBH) I will shamefully share that it was closer to the bottom of my list. To my surprise, I loved Lisbon so much and I have recommended it to so many people (who would have guessed?!).
Praça do Comércio

Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo


Lisbon was undeniably unique from anywhere I have seen. Normally, there are streets in Italy or France that everyone posts pictures of because it is so beautiful, however, in Lisbon every corner was so bright and colorful! I would turn my head and see something even more colorful than the next. Also, a lot of the buildings were made of colorful tiles as opposed to painted which made each unique. Also, the city is known for the small yellow trollies that I spotted all around town (and may or may not have been close to being hit by some when jaywalking, oops!)
Avenida da Liberdade
The main boulevard in Lisbon is a lot like Champs Elysees in Paris! I walked up and down this street a lot to get from my hotel to the main parts of the city! Every day there was countless art stands, flowers, and squares full of people.

Pena Palace- Sintra, Portugal
I took a train from Rossio Station to Sintra to visit this beautiful castle! It was so worth it because it was stunning! I was not planning on going at sunset, however, it was the best mistake I ever made. 
Church Santa Maria de Belém
Belém Tower
Belém is a small town right next to Lisbon! It has a bunch of hidden gems including the best pastries ever (below)! It is also a nice place to walk around and get different views of Portugal.


Madame Petisca
Whenever I go somewhere new I always look for rooftop restaurants/bars to go to (LOVE a good view)! There is something about seeing a city from above that makes it so much more beautiful. Also, I will eat and drink regardless so might as well do so with a great view ;)! To get to Madame Petisca you enter a little doorway and get right on the elevator! I ate popcorn chicken as an appetizer for dinner, which was delicious. If you go here you MUST get the red sangria (I am still craving it)!
O Martinho da Arcada
I knew from the time I boarded my flight that I would be trying traditional Portuguese egg tart, but it is safe to say I ended up "trying" over six in three days (no shame). This cafe is located in the Praça do Comércio and seemed to be a tourist trap at first, however, the waiter was so kind and taught us about the importance of putting a dash of cinnamon on your tart (see photo)! Also, the coffee here was the best I had in Lisbon!
Time Out Market
 I had one dinner at Time Out Market. It is basically a food court with a lot of diverse cuisines! I would recommend checking it while in Lisbon. It's great for a group because everyone can get what they want!
Fábrica
My last morning I had plans to go to an insta-worthy brunch place, but when I arrived and it was packed with tourists looking to do the same thing I decided to venture around the corner to a total local spot! I highly recommend the latte here!
Pastéis de Belém
Hands down the BEST pastries in Lisbon! This is in the area called Belém, which is a ten-minute uber drive from the main part of Lisbon. I ended up going to Belém two days in a row because I could not leave Lisbon without having more! Everything we ordered was amazing!




H10 Duque de Loule
My stay in Lisbon would not be as complete without this hotel! It encompassed Lisbon's culture with tiles throughout the room and was so bright. The staff was incredibly nice & even welcomed us with champagne. It was about a twenty-minute walk from most places that I went, however, I loved it because I ate a lot and I got to cover more ground and see more of Lisbon!

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sticks'N'Sushi

Sticks'N'Sushi is a chain restaurant located throughout London! It is really unique in the fact that they have a lot of untraditional and unique menu items. I highly recommend a reservation unless you are open to waiting or sitting at the bar (like I did). Their list of sticks was what makes them so unique. I ordered the spicy tuna roll, salmon stick, and the sweet potato stick!
The food was very fresh and the restaurant was an overall modern spin on your typical sushi experience! I will for sure be going back in my time in London. The food was so fresh and satasfied my sushi craving. 
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Stonehenge

The second stop on our day trip was to Stonehenge. The history behind it is actually more incredible than I imagined it would be. What I loved about seeing it was that you can walk 360° around it, seeing it from every angle! It looked a lot bigger in real life than these photos, which made it even more impressive that pre-historic peoples made it without tools.
 
I highly recommend walking all the way around it as I would consider it a one time stop for the average tourist (aka it was amazing, but I do not have the itch to go see it again). To be honest, it is in the middle of nowhere so there is not much to do other than see it, so I recommend making it a multiple stop day trips like we did! Also, they just added a little shop so you can get your caffeine fix (like I did) on your way to your next destination! 
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Windsor Castle

I am 99.9% sure that this is the first castle I have ever been to! Actually, now that I think about it I have been to Hearst Castle on California's central coast! While it was breathtaking, walking around Windsor Castle felt so much more like a dream come true. I was that ten-year-old that would not take of the Belle Disney Princess costume dress and wore it grocery shopping with my mom. 
Winsor was so enchanting and exactly how I imagined a castle to be as a little girl. It was grand (almost intimidating), yet charming at the same time. 
Something that was unexpected was the number of royal corgis for sale in the giftshops! It was completely unexpected but quite funny to see. I can honestly admit I had to hold myself back from purchasing a stuffed animal (I am 21-years old, you can judge me for admitting this).
I feel so lucky because when I was there the wedding outfits of Meghan (Markle), Duchess of Sussex and Harry, Duke of Sussex were on display at Windsor Castle! While I do not follow the royal family closely, I do love every aspect of weddings! It is safe to say I spent twenty minutes taking all the details that could not be seen in photos. First, can we talk about her veil?! The flower detailing is insanely beautiful, but better yet had so many meaningful memories to Meghan! Also, Harry's coat had a lot of detail, along with a belt that I did not catch in photos from last spring. Last, I would be lying if I did not say that I fangirled over the fact that I made the same walk toward St. George's Chapel as Oprah and the Beckham's!!!! 
Despite the incredible castle, Windsor is a very charming town! I had the chance to walked around a little bit and it is for sure worth making the extra time for! 
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