Time to break out the final parts of my spring break trip to Lisbon. On the last day of our trip, my classmates and I drove outside of Lisbon to visit some amazing places.
We made three stops during this tour:
1. Cabo da Roca
Our first stop was Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe. I was already excited by the bright beaches that I spotted during the bus ride, but when we got off, I saw a vast ocean off a cliff side, and endless tracks of green on the other side. It was just very cathartic to see this much pure nature. Which I hadn’t done in a while.
(The only strange thing is that you have to pay 50 euro cents to use the restroom HAHAHA)
2. Sintra Village
Then we drove into Sintra, a resort town full of little hilly streets and colorful buildings, with a nice hilltop view as well.
We grabbed lunch in a nice patio outside, and I got a Portuguese pizza.
Next, after walking around the streets for a bit, we visited a famous pastry shop called Cafe A Piriquita, well-known for their ‘pillow’ pastries (travesseiro de sintra) and Portuguese egg and milk cupcakes (queijadas). We got those two types of sweets and indeed, they were delicious! I thought the travesseiro tasted like a lighter, fluffier version of apple turnovers 🙂
3. Pena Palace
Then we went up the mountain (actually walked up, which wasn’t that bad!) to Pena National Palace, where the last of the Portuguese royalty lived. The building was absolutely stunning; it was basically a Portuguese Hogwarts. The rooms inside the palace were small in size but sensible in decoration, and apparently it was one of the first palaces to have a bathroom equipped with a shower! Impressive, huh? The tour guide who took us around the palace generously provided us with all kinds of different stories about the palace and who used to live there – I tend to think guided tours are kind of boring but this one was actually quite interesting.
Of course, the views from the top were breathtaking – it reminded me of when I used to live in Virginia next to the Blue Ridge Mountains – If I ever move outside of New York City, I want to move to a city with lots of hills and mountains.
At night, I went out to the Rossio Plaza area with a few of my friends to a famous restaurant that serves steak on a burning stone (Restaurante Cabacas). We held our full stomachs and walked over to a rooftop bar and spent a good part of the night there, enjoying the candlelit mood, with no exams or deadlines to worry about. The booming city was still lively but somehow quiet at the same time, the kind of peace that only darkness and nighttime can bring you.
On the morning of our flight, we all had our usual feast at the hotel breakfast, and after seven-ish hours of flying (the last ten minutes of which were rocky as hell…it was literally the first time I felt like throwing up on an airplane. Deep breaths, Mary, deep breaths.), we were finally back in the Big ol’ Apple.
On this trip, I did some things that I rarely do…
- Eating dinner after 9PM
- Wearing skirts/dresses outside
- Getting home at 4:30 in the morning (and sleeping through my alarm)
- Consuming meat, cheese, and pastries for all three meals of the day
Whether good or bad, all of these adventures will be memories of an awesome spring break. Well, time to get back to studying for my midterms. Ciao!