It did not take long for us to start planning travel in and around the UK and Europe once we had all arrived. We were going to be waiting a few more weeks for our furniture and boxes to arrive so decided to hop off to Portugal for several days. It was a location we had on our list last time we lived abroad but never got the time to visit.
We had a fairly uneventful flight with minimal toddler tantrums and were able to quickly grab a taxi after getting our luggage. Our Airbnb was located on a hill overlooking the city so it was great to have the taxi rather than public transport + walking as we often do. The cab driver was also great, giving us recommendations on places to see and eat as well as talking with Hannah. When we arrived at our Airbnb, I was instantly impressed. It was billed as child friendly and was it ever. It had a toy room, y’all. It was stocked with baby/toddler toys, a bath, high chair, books, child friendly dishes & utensils. Not to mention spacious and great views over the city to the water.
Unfortunately we realized we had made a rookie mistake and completely forgot to pack electric adaptors for European plugs. Oops! We messaged our host for recommendations of a place to purchase some. It was Sunday so we assumed many stores would be closed or closing early. We didn’t hear back for a while so decided to head off on our own to try and located something. Yeah….that didn’t go so well. After traipsing up and down streets for 30 minutes with no luck, we finally found a tourist information spot so popped in and asked the lady at the desk for advice. She directed us to a music/electronics store in a shopping center about 10 minutes walk away. We stopped off at a beautiful square before heading that direction. We found 2 adaptors and quickly left to make our way back to the apartment. Only to find the apartment was less than 10 minutes from the store. It was late so we fixed Hannah a simple dinner from groceries we’d purchased earlier in the day and put her to bed. C and I were so tired we ate cereal for dinner and called it a night.
The next day we ventured across the city to find a place to play for Hannah. It was bit of a hike but we found the beautiful park, Jardim de Estrela, which had a pretty good playground. She had lots of fun playing with the sand/rocks and generally making a mess, ha. We were near Mercado de Campo de Orique, so stopped off there for lunch. It was nice because you could grab meat, produce, bread, and prepared foods then grab a seat in the center and eat. We were there fairly early on a weekday so it was not very busy (which honestly was nice with a toddler to look after). That afternoon we lazed around the apartment planning out the next couple days.
Our third day called for rain so we went to the Lisbon Oceanarium. It is a bit outside of the city center so we took the metro then walked the remainder. It started raining, no pouring, on us about 5 minutes into the 15 minute walk. We arrived pretty soaked. It was a really neat aquarium with a large center tank that you kept coming back to on different levels. There were also penguins and otters in addition to the usual aquarium fish assortment. We all enjoyed it and learned our lesson about walking in the rain so opted for a cab back to the apartment
Our final full day we went to the Castelo de S. Jorge perched atop the hill where our Airbnb was located. The grounds were beautiful and offered amazing views over the city and beyond. We walked some of the ramparts, through the gardens and came across several peacocks. Hannah loved seeing the peacocks but only from a safe distance. Instead of walking directly back to the apartment, we turned the other direction to wander the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Alfama neighborhood. It was filled with cute colorful homes. We stopped in at Pois Cafe for lunch and it was great. They offered Hannah a stuffed dragon to keep her company and paper and crayons to color. They also had board games, various books and sofas to lounge on. Naptime for Hannah meant downtime for me to read and enjoy a glass of wine. Since it was our last night we splurged on a nicer dinner at Le Petite Cafe. We actually had plans for another restaurant but it was closed. We got there early so we were the only people in the restaurant apart from the waitstaff but it was perfect. I had a delicious duck dish and C enjoyed a Brazilian style steak. Hannah enjoyed eating off both our plates.
Before heading to the airport on the last day I convinced C we had to search out the famed Portuguese pastry, Pastel de nata. There are many opinions on the “best” pastel in Lisbon, but we only had time to try one. We went with Manteigaria based on reviews and were not disappointed. The woman behind the counter convinced us to get a couple extras and I’m glad she did. They were great warm with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled atop. Yum!
Our first trip definitely had a couple bumps in the road, but overall we had a great time and found Lisbon to be a great city. There was a lot we wanted to do but did not get around to it all. Perhaps we will just have to go back But then again, there are so many new places to see. Decisions, decisions.