Lisbon, Portugal by Lucy Richmond

As soon as I got off the shuttle at my hotel in Lisbon, Portugal, and went to grab a bite to eat with others in my study abroad group, there were already quite a few things that shocked me. As we were seated at our table to eat, olives, bread, butter, and olive oil were brought out to us. I remember doing some research before I left and reading that if you touch anything that they bring to you, they will charge you for it, but before I could relay that information to my group, they had already touched it. I looked around and realized that locals at other tables had not eaten any of it. Obviously, it did not matter to me as I was starving and went ahead and grabbed myself a piece of bread, but it was quite different from America. I also realized that it was 7:30, and we were some of the only people in the restaurant, and the longer we ate, the more people filled the restaurant around 8:30 to 9, which is the normal time to eat dinner in Portugal. Not only that, but I noticed the slow pace of others in the restaurant who were in no rush to eat and take their time and have long conversations, unlike in America where sometimes I feel as if I am rushed to eat. Throughout my time in Portugal, I tried to eat as traditionally as possible which consisted of a lot of codfish in my diet, however, it was not until my last week here that we had a group cooking class and I had (and cooked) my favorite dish yet, called Bacalhau com Natas, translated as codfish with cream. While this was my favorite dish for a meal, the Pasteis de Natas would have to top that as they may have become my all-time favorite food now, and we were lucky enough to learn how to make those as well. Pasteis de Natas are pastries filled with egg cream custard. I cannot even begin to describe their flavors, it is just something everyone will need to experience in their life. Our tour guide on our first day told us that it’s a “rule” that if the Pasteis de Natas are warm, you must have two. The cooking class was definitely one of my favorite activities in Portugal, along with our trip to Sintra. Sintra is a beautiful city, just North of Lisbon, that has many historic castles. I was able to visit two of the castles, which had views that were absolutely unreal. I cannot imagine living in one of those castles and waking up every morning to a view like that, I feel like I would be much more productive than I am. However, I am very lucky that I was able to experience the living quarters that Kings and Queens once resided.




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