Lisboa, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year - EUROVISION! Where else would I have been, but the host city for 2018 Lisboa! 

My week in Lisboa consisted of mainly one thing - gorging myself on the native delicacy - pastel de nata… By weeks end I was beginning to look like a custard tart! Other than that of course there was exploration, and Eurovision!! 

We were blessed with good weather all trip, the days were long, warm, and sunny. The old part of Lisbon is full of beautiful colourful houses, sitting atop a hill overlooking the river and the other side. Across from the main part of the city sits Christo-Rei (Christ the King), an exact replica of Christ the Redeemer built after the cardinal patriach of Lisbon visited Rio and loved it so much he wanted one for Lisboa. Bridging the two sides across the river Tagus is the Ponte 25 de Abril, a bridge which looks suspiciously like the Golden Gate. These bizarre nods to other cultures might seem odd in any other city, but in Lisboa they are right at home amongst the crazy blend of architectures that cover the city. 

(Obviously) Eurovision was the main draw for me, Portugal was another country I’d never considered visiting, but I have to say there was plenty to see and do in Lisboa and just beyond. Sintra, a beautiful mountain range filled with so much beautiful nature and many historic buildings. Like Lisboa there is an odd mismatch of architectural styles - most famous in Sintra is the Pena Palace, a romantisicist palace covered in pastels with a signature yellow helping it stand out atop the mountains, with a medieval fortress overlooking it on the next mountaintop. Not too far from these historic locales is Quinta da Regaleira, a beautiful gothic palace with an initiation well - a sort of inverted tower that buries into the ground with a staircase spiralling around it. The purpose of these wells was to be used as tarot initiation ceremonies.  

In my quest for the ultimate pastel de nata we headed down to Belem, an area in which monks were said to invented to have invented the delicious treat in an old monastery (which still stands today!). The new, mordern home of pastel de nata is a gorgeous bakery just across from the monastery, which served what can only be described as the greatest tastiest little treat to hit my tastebuds. Pastel de nata, for those unaware, are those tiny little Portuguese egg custard tarts you can now find everywhere. Some are good, some are terrible, but none can come close to the true Portuguese pastel de nata! I can recommend lisbon on the quality of the tarts alone :) 

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