Back in 2016, during the October half term, I booked a trip to Lisbon as a birthday present for Alex. We spent two nights in the Portuguese capital and dashed between place to place trying to see as much of Lisbon as we possibly could. And there was a lot we wanted to see.
I couldn’t really remember much of Lisbon, other than the obvious sitting on rooftop terraces, visiting the Belem Tower and climbing up the hill to see the spectacular red rooftop views. I also remember eating a Nandos style chicken, which we ate at twice!
So, as we are planning our trip back to Lisbon, I wanted to know where we stayed before. Although we knew Rio probably wasn’t allowed there, it gave us a good idea about the area we’d like to stay or the distance which is good for walking into the centre. A quick search of Lisbon on my emails and it popped up. Along with another email, from myself.
Apparently, I was already getting into this travel blogging business back in 2016, I’d kept a digital diary that I emailed to myself, so today I thought I’d share it. One, so the Lisbon diary will never be lost again and two to see how my style of writing has shifted.
I’m leaving it in all it’s glory. Everybody, meet 2016 me. The stuff in italics will be what I’ve added in or any comments I’ve made. I feel like I’m evaluating my own work here!
Lisbon 18 – 20th October 2016
3:30am – We’re and ready to go! I remember being so excited about heading to Lisbon but the early morning flight was not fun. The best bit about them though is at least you’re in your destination with the full day to spare. One day surviving on copious amounts of coffee is acceptable for travel.
3:45am – We’ve arrived at Luton airport and have parked the car. We’re waiting for our shuttle to take us to the terminal! It’s freezing!
4:00am – Who doesn’t love an airport early morning breakfast? Breakfast time at Frankie and Benny’s. I can’t get over how tired and young we look in these photos! Madness that it was four years ago!
7:30am – Boarded and Ready! We got to the airport so early! We would definitely leave out about an hour later nowadays and enjoy the extra hour’s sleep!
11:30am – The last time I wrote the time! The private car is here to pick us up! I remember organising a transfer with Travel Republic and it being pretty economical. We ended up being picked up by a private car and dropped off again by a private car. It wasn’t too far from the airport to the city centre and I remember the driver being super friendly and practising his English on us!
Dropped our bags off and heading into the city! We can’t check in at Lisbon city hotel until 2pm! I don’t think this would’ve been a problem for us, I’m just over enthusiastic with exclamation marks. I remember we did loads of walking and lingered around the plaza where there were loads of Dortmund Football Fans waiting for the match.
We walked around A LOT!!
Much needed break at Starbucks! Now, I’m pretty sure when we return to Lisbon, we’ll try and do local coffee places instead. Much like we do here. But, if the opportunity arises and a cafe mocha is on the cards, I can’t guarantee that I won’t be back in Starbucks again! I love local coffee, especially when in Portugal it’s normally less than a euro, but I’m also a sucker for Starbucks.
Time to get my Lisbon pandora charm! I was very much into making sure I had my Pandora charms at this point. Now that my bracelet is nearly full, I’m not too fussed. I love being able to look back on the places we’ve been though!
Off to the river to see the 24 de Abril bridge. I remember we loved the bridge. It was like a mini Golden Gate Bridge, and apparently designed by the same people. We ended up spending ages one evening just sat watching the sunset over the bridge and it was just such a perfect spot. The river waves crashed on the shore and the bridge reflected the light to give a gorgeous glow. I remember thinking Lisbon was one of my favourite places and I wasn’t keen on heading back to reality.
Next, we headed up to the outside of the Castell. I had completely forgotten about the Castell. We climbed the hill and wandered around the castle. There were flags of Portugal and I had to grab a photo or two. We’d got used to Lisbon offering so many rooftop views that we almost took the castle views for granted.
Best chicken ever! With yummy cheese but not yummy wine! (Red ugh!). Obviously I wasn’t a fan of red back then either. Who knows how I ended up with red because I’ve always hated it! Perhaps I’d tried to give my Duolingo Portuguese a try. Either way, the chicken we’ll be going back for… the red wine? I doubt it.
Headed back to Lisbon City Hotel. IT’S BEEN A LONG DAY. You can say that again, I’m tired from reading again what we did in a day!
19th October 2016 (Lisbon)
Early morning breakfast before heading out into the city. I always find a breakfast at the hotel to be so convenient. It saves time looking for somewhere and you’re up and ready, but at the same time, usually breakfast places are nicer out of the hotel and if you’re lucky you can get some gorgeous views too. Catch22!
Straight to the metro for the journey to Torre De Belem. The Belem Tower was the place I was most excited for. It’s a little tower that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney book. When we arrived by tram, it takes you to this little style of village. I remember looking around at all the gorgeous tiles and the trams and the parks and just thinking wow.
Being the princess locked in the tower. This makes no sense to anybody except me and Alex so I’ll give you some context. So, back in 2016, I was already on the “gotta get good photos for the gram” wave. I’d have my hair put into plaits for photos and we’d look for photo spots, so yeah, since having a blog that hasn’t changed. When we finished looking around the Belem, we noticed that there was a window that was at the top of the tower and you could see the people below queuing to get in. We thought it would look cute if I sat in the window and Alex ran downstairs (he wouldn’t be able to enter again) and I’d do some Disney princess style photo. It took me ages to spot Alex in the crowd as there were loads of people queuing to get in – anyway we got the photo! And then I had the panic of how do I actually get out of this tower? Anyway, we made it.
Headed to Monastrey in Belem. I had to google what this is because honestly I don’t remember. Okay, after googling it I still don’t remember. We must have just looked at the outside because I’d definitely remember somewhere as beautiful as that! The outside seems to jog a memory though.
Tram to Lisbon centre! Time to find the viewpoint and lost in espalada bar. We had googled rooftop bars and Lost in Espalada was one of the top rated ones. I’m so pleased we went as it was a lovely bar situated on the top of a hill. It had gorgeous views and was such a laid back atmosphere with hammocks and stuff. I hope when we go back with Rio that they accept dogs!
View from the mirador. Just a short walk from the bar is the Mirador with the same view.
Coffee with a view. This was in Lost in Espalada bar and I remember loving it. We spent ages sat there. They also have beds which you can sit on, but that was a bit much for me haha!
Off to find pink street! It’s called R. Nova de Carvalho for anybody wondering. The street is so peculiar and cool. We’ll definitely be heading back there to get better photos this time! I’m not sure what I thought I was doing on these photos. Why did I feel the need to be on the floor? You can walk and see the floor!?
Crammed on famous tram 28. Who hasn’t crammed on that tram only to find out that it’s pretty much the same as all the others? It passes through all of the popular districts and I’m sure if you could actually see a thing it would’ve been cool. We were stood in the middle of this tram with quite clearly more than maximum capacity thinking… really? It’s a tram that dates back from the 1930’s and the route that it takes is gorgeous. But, going on it mid afternoon was not a good time. Like I said, we didn’t see a thing. I’d suggest riding the tram super early or super late to appreciate it. A single ticket on the tram is 3€ per person, and for the places you visit on the way it’s worth it (if you get a view!). It’s busting with original charm so taking the tram is a must do (but hold on tight, the brakes were SHARP). I’d also like to point out alex is leaning around people to take this photo and people had just got off the one stop before ours which is why the photo doesn’t look as busy.
Time to explore the castle and its views. It’s a steep walk from the tram stop to the castle but it was here that we finally visited the castle inside. It was a beautiful place and I’m glad we saved it for last.
Chicken again at BomJardim. This time with a nice bottle of white wine!! So good we went twice. We’ll definitely go back again this time, though this time I think I’ll be on the rose. I had to google to make sure it still exists, because the disappointment if it didn’t! It’s open 12-11pm everyday. It’s famous for its spit-roasted chicken and peri peri sauce. It’s a cheap downtown restaurant and it’s supposed to be one of the original inspirations for Nando’s! We watched sunset at bridge around this point!
Off to bed! Car is coming at 7:20. We didn’t spent any of the 20th in Lisbon. It was just the day we left. Looking back now, we’ll have more time in Lisbon this time than we did last time, so I’m sure we’ll fit lots in! Plus, Rio isn’t allowed everywhere, so we’ll be able to cut out some tourist attractions. As we’ve already seen them, it doesn’t bother us!
Obrigado Lisboa ❤️🇵🇹
It was kind of funny looking through my old notes, and I’m so glad I found then on my phone. I’ve always loved keeping diaries of travel, as it means we can always refresh our memory. I love even more that I have this blog to document it on as I can always just google and it comes up. I’ve got lots of other little travel diaries dotted around the apartment and I intend to make them digital at some point.
It’s so lovely to have something that keeps together our memories nice, neatly and easy to find. I’m so excited to revisit Lisbon, and what content I’ll create, how I’ll write it and to just enjoy being in some new and some old places on the way. I’ll be creating a newer diary for absolute sure.
I think I got the idea from my Mum as she wrote out all of our Disney holidays in the photo albums so that we’d know what we did and when as the holiday just gets crazy very quickly. It’s always nice to look back and see what we did, what the weather was like and everything else when we were there.
What about you, do you keep travel diaries?