Porto, Portugal

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

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If there was one thing that I could have done differently from my Portugal trip, it would be to allocate more time for Lisbon and explore Porto all on its own another time. Except, unlike Lisbon, I felt like 2 days in Porto was quite adequate. I’ll also be frank to share that I’m not much of an artsy/design person when it comes to traveling. Personally, I felt like Porto was charming, but kind of like a larger than life Disneyworld kind of charm. Within the first day or so, I felt like we’ve walked the same streets three or four times. This was so different than getting lost and mixed up in the winding streets of Lisbon.

These thoughts aside, I loved the crisp air in Porto that is reminiscent of their region’s wine. It made for a really great atmosphere, and the clouds were always so pretty to get distracted by when people watching with a glass of wine or coffee.

My fondest memories of Porto? It would have to be the simple tasting at SEMEA, and the Porto FC home game at the city’s own Estádio do Dragão. This is my second soccer game on a Europe trip because Shun is such a fan of soccer, but I think I’m going to make this our little traveling ritual from now on since they have been so enjoyable. Something about the energy of people around, and also watching Shun enjoy himself really makes me happy.

A few things I’ll leave here for you to consider if you’re heading to Porto soon.

Where to stay:
Moon & Sun Hotel - loved their terrace and they’re a bit further away from the city center.

Where to eat:
Semea by Euskalduna - highly recommend their lunch course which is based on an omakase format. The chef has an incredible other restaurant called Studio, which has a 2-month waiting list, so we didn’t get to try (but you should definitely look into it).
Oficina - another restaurant on our list, but unfortunately was closed on Monday (our last full day there).

Things to do/see:
Graham’s Cellar - my favorite Port wine, and worth a visit to their cellar.
Churches - some recommended to us were: Clerigos, Igreja da Lapa, and Capela
Miradouro da Vitoria - view of the cathedral and bridge.
Teleférico de Gaia Cablecar - Shun took me here around 6 pm on one of the days to take the cable car across the river for sunset. It was super lovely and one of my favorite experiences in Porto.

What to wear:
Sneakers - leave your nice shoes at home. Your feet will thank me for telling you so because most of the streets are either on an inclined or cobblestoned.
Things I wore (by the order of photos) - neutral tank top (similar here), white wide-leg pants (similar here), Mango shirt jacket, Chanel WOC, Common Project sneakers, Preen Line dress, Proenza Schouler PS11, and Fendi bag bug.


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Lisbon, Portugal

Monday, October 7, 2019

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I’ll start off sharing my thoughts on Lisbon by saying that, 3 days was not long enough. I’m not sure why everyone repeatedly told me to cut down some time in Lisbon for Porto, but personally- I felt like I could spend a whole week exploring all the hills and alley of this colorful city.

Whenever I pick a European city to visit, because I actually don’t get to travel to that part of the world too often, I always choose one that’s not too big or central. Lisbon, being on my radar for quite some time now, garnered a lot of attention through all the travel publishers and among my friends these past few summer months. This made me excited to cross it off my list but reduced some of my expectations (since I felt like I got the gist of it through all the social/media coverage).

It’s been a while since I went on a trip with Shun as well -and with our last really fun one being Taipei, all we looked forward too was having a few good relaxing days of exploring and chomping down some delicious food. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t quite connect well with Portuguese food at all, so that left me a bit disappointed by the time we were leaving. That said, it made me justified allocating a lot of our time to taste-test some of Lisbon’s best restaurants (Prado, Alma, and Belcanto).

On the first two nights there, we stayed at a super local Airbnb- and though it was beautiful, it was a bit uncomfortable for us- but we really couldn’t complain since we pretty much just ate and slept. Of all the places we ate in Lisbon, Alma was our favorite. If I remember correctly, we were at lunch from 1 pm until 4 pm (course menu because they’re a Michelin place), walked around for about an hour, and passed out until 4 am the next day. This repeated for another day or two because we pretty much had a big lunch reservation for every single day that we were there.

Lisbon was more inclined than I thought it would be, so we got tired of walking around really easily. I know everyone raves about the viewpoints in Lisbon, but I love walking around all the low points of the city and admire all of their facades and doors (hence so many of those photos in this photo-diary). By the second day, we started to Uber everywhere (so so cheap and convenient) even though we were right in the center of Bairro Alto.

Amongst everything else that I have to say- the top two things that I have to mention about visiting Lisbon at the top of my head would be how kind and generous, the people here are, and their orange juice is amazing (I think it’s why I don’t have a photo of it because I chugged my glasses every time I got one, or two). The next time I visit, I’m going to make up for the lost time by allocating a week to leisurely get lost here and do a couple of day trips. I don’t regret not visiting Sintra this time though.


If you’re planning on visiting Lisbon, I’ll jot down a few things below for you to keep in mind.

Where to stay:
Dear Lisbon - Valmor Palace

Where to Eat:
Prado - lovely designed restaurant. Small bites, and really good mineral wine recs.
Alma - traditional Portuguese with a modern taste. If you’re like me and can’t do too much heavy food and big portion, this place is an amazing way to try and understand Portuguese food.
Belcanto - currently world’s top 50, at number 42. Don’t worry if you can’t get a reservation, I totally enjoyed Alma so much more.
By The Wine - went for small bites and a couple of glasses of wine. I loved their green wines from Portugal. Note that they only carry their own.

Where to Coffee:
Fabrica Coffee Roasters - came here twice on this trip. Picked up beans and had a really good latte.
Copenhagen Coffee Lab - people watching here was nice as the tram passed right by the front window. Not a big fan of the milk in Portugal so had a cappuccino here and it was pretty good.
Comoba - the space looked cute but didn’t end up staying because it was pretty packed on a weekday afternoon.

Things to try:
Orange juice - honestly, the number one reason I would visit Lisbon again as ridic as that sounds. Actually learned that their oranges are produced in the Algarve region. The abundance of sun and sea soil is the reason why it is so delicious and sweet. Another cool thing to note that ‘Portugal’ actually means orange in Arabic, Turkic and other Mediterranean languages with variations.
Pasteis de Nata - this one is obvious, and my favorites are Mantegaria as opposed to the historic Bélem. If you’re not a fan of cinnamon, try Orion’s; their custard filling is my favorite out of these three.
Sardines - everyone will recommend that you try cod, and of course, you should, but I personally favor the fatty sardines that exist at every restaurant menu here so much more. Salted cods were just way too salty and dry for me.
Vinho Verde aka green wine - if you’re not a wine person, you might like to try these because they are from the country. It’s very crispy and aromatic, which makes it super easy to drink.
Seafood - this one goes without a doubt. I loved all of the clams and octopuses dishes. They are just cooked so well and simple here.

What to wear:
Sneakers - leave your nice shoes at home. Your feet will thank me for telling you so because most of the streets are either on an inclined or cobblestoned.
Things I wore for my three days are (by order of days) - &Otherstories knitted dress, Mango (men’s) shirt jacket, Mango net wood beaded tote (pearl one), Nanushka tapestry slides, GRLFRND Denim jeans, The Frankie Shop jumpsuit, Common Project sneakers, Chanel WOC, and PS11 bag.

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