Saturday, July 16, 2016

Europe: 48 hours in Portugal

Its been more than a year since my trip to Europe and I am still in disbelief at how I managed to escape for those 2 months. And... I realized that I have yet to blog much about the trip!

The sister and I booked Trafalgar tours to Spain and Portugal - which was amazing and I strongly recommend this as our Trafalgar tour guide was beyond exceptional and offered us great insights about the country.

If I had to pick a place to revisit again, it would be Lisbon in Portugal. Just like any other European country, you need to be wary of your surroundings as petty thefts are common and is such a massive trip spoiler. Travel light and where possible, ensure that your bag is right in front of you and secured!

Rossio square - filled with street after street of restaurants and shops but really, the best part is the sea breeze that has a somewhat calming effect. More of a tourist spot so be warned, lots of tourist traps planted all around.

The view that had probably inspired voyages. Can you blame them?

Jeronimos monastery - a UNESCO heritage site that saw monks providing guidance and prayers to explorers and a place where the treasures gathered from these adventures are kept. In here also lies the great explorer, Vasco da Gama's tomb to commemorate his visit to Asia.

Not to be missed is also a gigantic monument that briefly represents past explorers.

This foodie also heard about the famous pasteis de belem aka Portuguese egg tart that originated by monks from the monastery and until today, it is still popular as ever. There are other shops that sells this little custard tartlette but the one located next to the monastery is the original one - don't miss it.

Slightly warm, creamy, sweet and crisp best describes this tart - it is hard to stop at one.

Sintra - this was part of our optional tour with Trafalgar and we did not want to miss this opportunity. Located about an hour or so away from Lisbon, this was once a popular getaway from the royalty. With lush greenery and dreamy clouds of mist prancing around the mountains, can you blame them?

Nestled around the National Palace were tiny streets with cafes which did not fail at luring customers in. The streets can be narrow especially during peak tourist hours. Our local expert recommended us to grab a "pillow" biscuit which is a traditional pastry in Sintra. Sprinkled with a good dose of sugar, the layers were definitely fluffy and akin a sleeping pillow.

I could be biased but I feel that because Portugal is close to the sea, shortage on fresh seafood is nil existence. The Portuguese love rice as much as us Asians which makes the above dish a perfect example of why I love food in Portugal. This seafood pot costs us about $aud40 - comes with 2 pieces of lobster, prawns, squid slices and fish fillets, all bubbling atop rice that has been cooked in seafood broth. Sooooo good!

A selfie of yours truly in the National Palace surrounded by "celebrities" from those days, be it famous voyagers or royalty peeps.

Codfish cake - curiousity drew us in and we decided to share a piece just to satisfy our greed. Stringy texture meets fish paste that has been mellowed down by a dose cheese and potato mix.

Oh and did I mention that Starbucks had a half price deal on selected drinks that day? :)

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