Jet Lag & Exploring Anyway
If I'm flying anywhere for less than multiple months, carry on bags are he only bags I bring. Unless you’re flying Southwest (which you’re not going to be flying if you’re traveling outside of the US), you’ll have to pay for a checked bag, and the thought of risking a bag getting lost internationally is just TOO MUCH for my anxiety. I would like to wear my clothes when I get to my destination, thank you very much. There’s like, seventeen lipsticks in there.
(To take a ~coveted, I know~ peek into my travel necessities, click here)
Plus, not checking a bag means you get to zip off and explore that much faster after landing. I have ZERO travel patience – once I’m there, I’m there! We have new things to see, food to eat*, languages to butcher!
(*I accidentally wrote “food to meet” at first, and honestly really feel that. I love meeting food. Foods are some of my best friends. Vegetable Korma and I have a magical weekend planned.)
Lisbon was the first stop in Doug’s and my ten-day Iberian Peninsula adventure, which happened because we found $350 round-trip plane tickets to Madrid on Kayak and were physically unable to pass that up. Five days in Lisbon, five days in Madrid, with a couple of day trips sprinkled in.
The first day of traveling east is always difficult because if you’re a smart traveler, you want to STAY AWAKE and BEAT THE JETLAG. Napping is for wimps!
So as soon as we checked into our Air BnB I immediately took a two-hour nap. Whoops.
I will say that before we were able to check in to our Air BnB, we went to a tiny restaurant around the corner and ate like kings for CHEAP. Portugal was already winning me over. The national food of Portugal is bacalhao, or salted cod. What? You may ask. Salted cod? That’s it? But GUYS. It’s honestly something out of heaven. One cab driver we had said there are 1001 ways to cook bacalhao, and during our time in Lisbon we must have tried 996 of those ways.
Not really. But in my dreams we did. I love you, I miss you, you buttery flaky melt-in-my-mouth fish. Write to me!
After a nap and a beautiful post-plane shower, we decided to walk to the Santa Justa Lift, down Praca Rossio, and to the water around Praca Commercio. We had a lot of restaurants starred to explore as well.
Starred? Whatever do you mean, “starred”? I’ve adopted this travel method from Doug, actually, and find it SO helpful. Before we go on a trip we research the area (my research mostly consists of asking friends for recs and the New York Times “36 Hours in ___” articles), and star the places we want to go on Google Maps. This way we can plan our days around the things we must visit, and if we’re ever at a loss for a place to eat or grab a drink, we can check the map and find something starred near to us. Google Maps’ GPS system works even when you don’t have cell data, so your little blue location dot will show up anywhere. Boom.
We were exhausted, yes, but new places are nature’s shot of adrenaline. Or something. I’m also definitely an evening/night person, and seeing all of the people out while the sun was setting was FIRE. It was about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature only declined slightly after dark. Amazing.
The Santa Justa lift offered some great first views of the city. The red tile rooftops and azulejo – Portuguese painted tile work on the walls – were heaven for NYC eyes.
Down the Praca Commercio we dipped our feet into the river while a guitarist played classical renditions of Led Zeppelin. We tried ginjinha, a local sour cherry liquor that honestly tasted like cough syrup straight up, but which we later realized was much better when mixed in cocktails.
We ended the night with some squid ink-fried cuttlefish (I KNOW) at Sea Me’s stand in the Time Out market. We sat next to a very nice but VERY talkative Russian couple, and by the time we had finished our snack at 9pm-ish we were READY for bed and stoked for what the days ahead had in store.
The Air BnB we picked for this leg of the journey was about a twelve minute walk away from the city center. Our room was small and hot sans air conditioning, but the decor was super cute and our host had a cat named Vicente. For the price and relative convenience, we were overall happy with it!