It was in 2007 that I started traveling. That year I traveled to 8 countries.
And I wouldn’t have done my first trip hadn’t it been for my dad.
So there I was, just about to board a plane that would take me to Lisbon. Didn’t know what to expect, but still excited about the following week. I went there with a friend of mine who already knew Lisbon, so I was in safe hands. But that’s how I discovered that I don’t really like to rely only on a guide. I love doing my own research, connecting the dots, discovering hidden places, checking the maps…and taking TONS of photos – please be aware that for this first trip I took photos w/a 3.2 megapixels(!!!) camera that my dad got me for Christmas the previous year 🙂.
However, my first trip to Lisbon was nothing like that. My friend knew exactly where to take me, what to say and to whom. So, strangely, I felt a bit lost. Loved the places, none the less.
Besides Lisbon, we also took the classic route: Cascais, Estoril and Sintra. We went to see Boca do Inferno and roam around Estoril and Cascais, and in Sintra we visited Palácio da Pena (I noticed that even to this day there is a major, yet very common mistake: Palácio da Pena is the colorful one, the one most people want to visit; yet 90% of them refer to it as Palácio de Sintra. Both exist, but one is up in the mountains, one is in the heart of Sintra), Quinta da Regaleira, and the streets of Sintra.
In Lisbon we visited pretty much everything anyone could visit in a week: Praça do Comércio and everything around it, Sé de Lisboa and the small streets up and down the hill in Alfama, Praça Luís de Camões and Bairro Alto (I would TOTALLY recommend going at any restaurant there and listen to proper fado – pay attention, though, as they tend to offer you starters you never asked for, that just seem like “on the house”…but you do have to pay for those probably 4x their real value), Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, all the Vasco da Gama area..and we also took a one day trip to Barreiro and, from there, to Palmela and Parque Natural da Arrábida.
Ending this with a culinary turn: I ended up falling in love with Pastéis de Belém … I mean, how could I not?
After this trip I knew I wanted to visit at least one new place each year. So far I made it.