July 03, 2015

our culinary trip summarized

portugal treated us well. although i dont run sightseeing from morning till evening i still didn't seem to have a quick moment just for blogging or thinking. but we slept until 10 or 11 daily, and slowly enjoyed the cities (Lisbon, Porto) until late evenings. doctor did some longer walks in Lisbon while i looked for the best sushi buffet in town etc.

on the first day we enjoyed these mussels at a sunny square surrounded by some historical buildings...  it set a good start for the holiday.
the view from the bedroom of our airbnb dwelling. pretty. we booked a whole flat in the Baixa/Chiado area, super central, yet a quiet street.
 looks like paris? fancy big arch, nevertheless.
 a menu!

restaurants here and there, in every corner...

a much raved flower salad at an Argentinian restaurant. and omg, it really was so good!! the goat cheese made it to my "want to buy at home" list. 

our breakfast. with a trip to the nearby market we treated ourselves to eggs, ham, chorizo, cheese etc the whole week.

green wine and a muffin. why hadnt i heard of green wine before, ive been to portugal once?  if i had, id forgotten. light, fruity and slightly sparkling - in other words awesome. perfect for the summer. 

lots of wine cellars and wine bars everywhere...!

stairs stairs stairs. both Lisbon and Porto require a certain level of fitness, the hills and stairs are steep, and everywhere. 

old stuff.

one afternoon we went grocery shopping and headed to the big park in the city center! some iberian ham, bread, a variety of cheese, a bottle of sparkling rose...  

doctor enjoying wifi and the park atmosphere. 

i think this is a train station? again, huge arches. the portuguese used to make everything big. too much money and time, i say. 

a view from a hotel rooftop bar (Bairro Alto hotel). nice place, but a bit posh, we looked like homeless people in our sandals and t-shirts :D

more street terraces...

via foursquare i found a burlesque themed bar (Var de la Venho Senhora) and to our luck there was a show that night! both a local and an american women were performing and the theme was 80s...  so it was cool. i will never listen to T'Pau's China In Your Hand the same way...  :D
upstairs to this bar, there is an old brothel turned dance/hangout club called Pensão Amor. the whole area used to be red light district so it has a lot of character but now has underground bars and trendy clubs. there is the club area with a dancing pole, the library room, the sex shop and so on...  interesting place.

one day we were planning to take the ferry in Lisbon to the other side of the river and find a beachthere, but the metro was on strike, all closed. we found ourselves at the train station,but instead of taking the detour to Trafaria accross the river, we decided to go all the way to Cascais which is a seaside village by the beach, less than an hour from Lisbon. its a bit posh, reminded me of something like Madeira, or Rimini...i dunno, local but touristy but a bit fake...  yet, we did enjoy the beach time. it was so hot that day even i got uncomfortable. then again i did have a dress on and covered myself with a towel although i was under the umbrella. still, hot. the sand was so hot for a while i felt like i had burned my toe in it (the toe was red and sore). sandals were definitely necessary. what about the sea, then? some 19 degrees, i dunno. so fuckin cold most people were only knee deep. and even more people were not in the water at all...  doctor was brave of course and jumped in a few times and had a good time, good for him. i enjoyed the free wifi and white wine under the covers.... 

i was surprised to find that one of the seaside restaurants in Cascais had really high scores in foursquare (Cascas). well alright we have to check that out?! i think the cook was asian, a lot of asian things on the menu, and a really weird portion of something (in the middle), i think it had fried potato skins, soft eggs, salmon and tomato and whatever... but it was good! all of it was. and the sea view didnt hurt.

one evening we ran into a food/handicraft festival in the center of the city. it was nice, locals selling local things. this poor piggy ended up as a show piece though.

and then i had to get nachos...like, i HAD TO. besides sushi, it has become my other international favorite. when abroad, find nachos. with real sour cream and guacamole. om nom nom. i found my nachos in Hard Rock Cafe. i was not fond of going to the establishment, celeb memorabilia nor the image the chain has does not interest me, but i had to get my fix. the restaurant actually had super high points on foursquare, too. the experience was okay, great service helped. but omg the plate of nachos!! it was in the starters section but this bloody plate was enough to make to main dishes! well i didnt complain, i did my best and doctor helped me. we almost finished the plate (he also had a hamburger to deal with). the photo does not convey the level of the deliciousness, at all. 

Porto was great too. the train took about 3 hours. free wifi! but surprisingly expensive, 24 eur one way. and this was the cheaper train. everything else in portugal was in my opinion cheap-ish, by european standards. of course, a 3 hours train ride in finland would probaby cost 70 to 90 euros, im guessing, so maybe this was a steal but i still didnt feel like it.

anyway we spent 2 days in Porto. went to the seaside to see the beach, walked around old town and enjoyed in general. lovely atmosphere and great restaurants.nice port tines, too, sure, but while i remember enjoying port wine some years ago, now i find it too sweet.
Porto is a city of bridges. like Istanbul the city is divided in 2 but the gap is smaller so there are 6 bridges. 

did i mention they like their bridges?? this one was designed by Eiffel...yeah that guy. it looks like he had 50 tons of leftover from the tower and came up with a plan (or maybe his manager did) to sell it to a close by neighboring country as an installation, or bridge, or whatever they would happen to need at the time..  ok in all honesty it looks nice of course, but *just like* the tower.

Porto seaside. there were beaches too but after a while and a great sangria they all look the same. chilling here by the rocks was great. 

a church in old town Porto. they have a lot of buildings like this, like slightly gothic but heavier...  we walked in here and there was a wedding going on.

portuguese rave about their sardines, and its like a symbol of the country, displayed in postcards and magnets and t-shirts. yet not nearly every restaurant had them on the manu. maybe theyre not actually so damn good? im quite sure ive tasted sardines in my lifetime, but i cannot remmeber and anyway i was not interested. we did not eat sardines on this trip.

a local specialty which we did try was bacalhau. there are hundreds of versions of it, but the most common seemed to be shredded cos in a casserole, perhaps with potato or something. it was ok, but reminded me of a finnish fish casserole or something. however ill happily admit the portuguese version was tastier. 

Porto had great restaurants too. this one was called Tascö. rustic food, great service. 

our quite modest "hotel" room in Porto. well, it had a bed and a shower. and one cockroach, lol. luckily neither of us cares. (but when returning to Lisbon i did make sure we stay in a cockroach-free accommodation...)

back in Lisbon. this bathroom was sooo nice, similar to what i would want actually...  i think i would add a splash of color but otherwise... yeah. 

on our last night we went to eat at this nice restaurant which was #1 in Lisbon in foursquare, the comments described things like octopus rice so...:P  (Sacramento do Chiado). it was again bit posh for how we were dressed butanyhow we enjoyed and it was tasty.

then, i topped the night off by spraining my foot on the dangerous cobblestone streets and that was that :D getting to the airport, and home, was *painful* and slow, to put it mildly.

didnt visit any museums or other "places".

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