With Portugal being right next to Spain and sharing a border I quickly discovered upon arrival that despite the two places being close in proximity they are certainly quite different. From the bright yellow trams lining the street to the different cuisines there was an obvious distinction. Within Portugal I visited Lisbon and once hitting the streets I was really glad I decided to pay this city a visit.
Within a couple hours of landing in Lisbon I joined a “free walking tour” and learned some pretty cool things like the oldest book store in the world is located in Lisbon and the significance of the many monuments that are sprinkled around the city. With Lisbon’s many hills I really appreciated the tour guide pointing out there was actually an elevator that can be taken to one of the hilltops that overlooks the city. My friend Jon and I took advantage of this tip later and the views were incredible, we even purposefully got lost in the town and it was interesting to see the locals going about their evening and chatting with one another in the street.
Anyone who knows me well knows I enjoy food, but those who really know me know that my favorite category of food is seafood. Lisbon just happens to offer some of the best seafood in Europe and it is safe to say it will probably ruin any seafood that I have in the future. The restaurant we went to had about a 40 minute wait but there were no regrets after such a flavorful and fresh dinner. *Travel Tip* The food the restaurant places on the table once you sit down is NOT free, we learned this after see our bill consisted of a few items we never ordered but for an extra $5 it was well worth it.
Our time in Lisbon ended with venturing out to the town of Sentra. Sentra is known for immaculate castles and its historic feel. It took about 45 minutes to reach Sentra and it also happened to be raining the time we went. We made it a point to visit one of the most famous castles that is known for being colorful however once reaching the entrance of the castle we were told that we had missed the last round of tickets by 12 minutes. Although it was disappointing our uber driver showed us around the town by car and even showed us a pastry shop where we could get Sentra’s famous pastry which was quite tasty.
During your time abroad be sure not to neglect the places right next to the country you’re studying in, it may surprise you how much fun you’ll have exploring these places. I am not sure where my adventures will take me next but Lisbon definitely has been a highlight of my study abroad experience.