While being abroad in Trujillo, Spain, I’ve had the chance to visit Lisbon, Portugal, and its surrounding towns twice. These experiences were awesome to say the least. Lisbon is a stunning city; it is a perfect balance between old and modern. Alfama, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Lisbon, is a walkable hidden gem with beautiful architecture everywhere you look. We also got to visit Sintra, the vacation town of the former Portuguese monarchy. Sintra looked like a town built by Disney, it had lots of Manueline architecture, also known as Portuguese late gothic. This architecture style is defined by its rich and lavish ornamentation of buildings, and it was named after King Manuel I who paid for many of the constructions during this time period. Foodwise Lisbon is great for seafood and fish, since it is found on the coast of the Atlantic. My favorite dishes, and a must-try, were the cod and the octopus, although the wild boar meat was also super tender and delicious. A little fun fact is that Portugal is the largest exporter of cod in the world. As far as the Portuguese people they were such a surprise! Everyone we met was so welcoming and sweet, they always gave us recommendations of places to visit and food to try and treated us as friends. Also, everyone spoke immaculate English, something that made me a bit embarrassed about us Americans. We were in Portugal not speaking a lick of Portuguese, yet they could communicate with us in our language perfectly fine. They did tell us that their secret to speaking such good English was that Hollywood movies, and most shows, are never dubbed to Portuguese so they’ve always had to watch entertainment in English while reading the subtitles. One last little fact while traveling to Lisbon is that Portugal is on London time, therefore -1 hour than most of Europe, therefore plan accordingly!
The first picture is the tower of Belem, another example of Manueline architecture, but it also shows the Tagus River in the background. The second picture shows a castle in Sintra, a clear example of Manueline architecture.