Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Tour of Lisbon's Tile

One of the first things you'll notice in Lisbon are the beautiful ornately painted tiles decorating the walls of many buildings. These tiles, called azulejos, have been around since the 13th century and made a come back in the mid-twentieth century when the city decided to preserve these buildings. Now they are iconic in Lisbon, and can be seen on practically every street. Here is my photo diary of the tiles I saw:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Cafes of Lisbon

I visited Lisbon at the height of morning sickness (10 weeks pregnant) and coffee was the last thing on my mind. In fact, just the smell of roasting coffee beans made me want to gag. There were a ton of cafes on my list (which I had made before I knew I was pregnant), but I got got to visit a handful this trip. Still, I think I had a good sampling of the modern cafes of Lisbon and put together this list in order of favorite. 

Copenhagen Coffee Lab
A place so good I had to visit twice! Delicious drinks, sandwiches, and desserts, all with a Scandinavian flair.

Wish Slow
Trendy hipster café located in the LX Factory area adjacent to a store that bears the same name. Fantastic coffee and cake!

The Mill
Foreign-run place with delicious breakfast. Not really a laptop-friendly café, but an excellent morning stop that is popular among tourists.

Fabrica Roasters
Near Rossio Square, some of the best lattes we had in Lisbon are found in this café.

Café Montana
Café-slash-art and paint supplies store on the waterfront right across from the TimeOut Market.

Dolo Café
Sweet little café in the Estrela neighborhood with baked treats and coffee

Pois Café
A quirky café in Alfama with walls lined with books and records. Good food and juice with a hostel vibe.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Fall Gala

I attended a gala this past fall at 6 months pregnant. I didn't purchase any fancy maternity dresses but was able to improvise with this old non-maternity dress I bought at Express in 2007. That's practically vintage.  Somehow, it still fit me if I tied the belt at the empire waist. 
The sleeves were a bit tight so I wore them unbuttoned and put a jacket over the dress. 

Dress: Express (from 2007)

Jacket: Goodwill
Leggings: Motherhood Maternity
Clutch: Coach
Shoes: Target

Friday, January 18, 2019

A Cemetary in Lisbon

I always plan to visit a cemetery in every new country I go to, but Portugal was no exception. However, once I learned I was pregnant (after I booked my trip) and became very ill, I scrapped most of my plans and hoped I would at least be able to make it out of bed once a day. 

As luck would have it, the airbnb we booked in Estrela was within block of Lisbon's most famous cemetery - Cemitério dos Prazeres. I couldn't resist the 10 minute walk and though I should at least try to explore what I can. 

Built in 1833 and featuring large mausoleums, it is one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever been.

The "streets" of the cemetery are paved like those for cars, and even have lamps, benches, trashcans, and sidewalks too. 

In the summer, the beautiful Jacaranda trees were in bloom, and added color to the stone mausoleums. 

I was surprised to see these very Chinese-looking mausoleums in the cemetery, but then again, Macau was a Portuguese colony. 

The cemetery was up on a hill and had an impressive view of the bridge and river. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Portugal's Amazing Bookstores

I normally check out libraries in every country I visit, but in Portugal, the bookstores are what you want to see. Both Lisbon and Porto have some gorgeously unique bookstores that would seduce any bibliophile.

Livraria Bertrans in Lisbon
This gorgeous tile-clad building is even more intriguing inside, where arches doorways lead you through deep rooms. The passageways feel very cathedral-like while the final chamber leads to the Fernando Pessoa Café, aptly named after Portugal’s most famous poet.

Ler Davagar in Lisbon
This hipster haven, right in the middle of LX Factory, is impressive upon first impression. Walking up the stairs and exploring the nooks and crannies of this sprawling store’s used and rare book collection is even more rewarding.

Livraria Lello in Porto
Porto’s most popular tourist destination is by far the hardest-to-access bookstore I've ever seen. First, you must go to a separate location to purchase a ticket, and that line could be an hour long. Once you have your ticket you can enter the bookstore, but it’s a frenzy inside with so mnay people trying to take photos. Contrary to popular tourist strategy, going when the store opens is even busier than when the store closes. We went about 20 minutes before closing and actually had some time to take photos without too many people in them, and more importantly, to savor the peace that a bookstore should offer.

Touchdown Tokyo

Every time I fly to Japan, I have this routine of changing clothes in one of the large, accessible stalls in the arrivals lobby. I would do ...