When we booked our Portugal trip at the beginning of January for mid-February travel, I had visions of basking in sparkling, warm, Spring-like days and enjoying a lovely coffee and a delicious Portuguese pastry in an outdoor cafe. In other words, we were going to steal away to what I imagined to be sun-soaked Portugal to ward off the Winter Blues–just enough sunshine to get us through the rest of the dreary winter.
Best laid plans.
Before we left England, we checked the weather forecast and realized that Portugal was going to welcome us… with soggy arms. Indeed it rained each of the four days of our visit. But between downpours, we enjoyed a bit of sun. We didn’t sit outside in the cafes, but we did huddle in charming old-world buildings. We still managed to do a little bit of hiking, but it was mostly sloshing here and there during the day and then putting our shoes near the radiators as soon as we got to our hotel in the evening in the hopes they would be dry enough for the next day’s outing.
Our first day in Lisbon, we took the #28 tram from the Estrela neighbourhood (where we were staying) up to the Graça neighbourhood and then walked down through the twisty Alfama (Lisbon’s oldest district dating back to the 8th century) and into the Baixa (downtown district, totally reconstructed in 1755 after a major earthquake).
When I was trying to think of things to tell you about Lisbon, I came up with a bunch of words: welcoming, friendly, textured, old, older, cobbled, twisty, hilly, tiled, delicious, romantic.
But the one word that kept repeating in my head was “Underrated”.
It really is.
If Portugal isn’t on your list (and I am embarrassed to say it was low on mine–what was I thinking?!), please do consider adding it. Even if you only have a couple of days, you can still enjoy a taste of this charming country.
Next week: Sintra.
About the Author: JaPRA is an expat Texan living in Boston (by way of London by way of Houston) with her husband (Mr. DJ), their 19-year old daughter (Roxi), and their dog Trudy.