Portugal: a food-lover and photographer’s dream

Portugal: a food-lover and photographer’s dream

Famed poet and Lisbon native Fernando Pessoa once wrote “The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people!” Such, fittingly, was my short but sweet time in Portugal: a quick let’s-grab-a-Ryanair-flight-and-go-explore trip to a country of which I embarrassingly knew very little.

The fact that I knew little about Portugal is perhaps another indicator of how under the radar this country is: although replete with history, architecture, literature, fabulous food, and out-of-this-world (and affordable) wines, Portugal remains second fiddle to its neighbor, Spain. And you know what? I’m OK with that. Those who have been to Portugal know. And when being in the know involves such incredible food and photogenic cities and landscapes, I feel privileged to be one of the lucky ones who ventured to places not often on the radar for American tourists.

On two separate trips we explored the most well-known cities in the country: Porto and Lisbon. In both cases, we braved the European winter (hey, we’re from California: this was a feat) and traded the Barcelona/Mediterranean climate for the cold and dreary Atlantic coast. But just as London seems better dreary with its moss-covered stones, Oporto and Lisbon seemed their most fitting when overcast or wet from a recent rain. Here’s a little of what I learned during our travels.

Portugal-peacock-garden
The gardens are as romantic as that of any I’ve seen in Spain, France, or Europe . . . but this one in particular had peacocks, so it gets extra points.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-plaza
The squares and fountains
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-plaza-statue
How beautiful is her face? I’m not kidding when I say this was one of my favorite places in the world to photograph.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-photography
The grit is real and (if you ask me) beautiful.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-cathedral-monastery
The cathedrals and monasteries are just as grand as any you’d see in other European countries . . . but this one also houses Vasco de Gama and Fernando Pessoa, so it kind of wins.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-photography-travel
My general obsession with taking photos of adorable elderly people extends to all corners of the world, apparently.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-trolley
Remember what I said about these cities being photogenic? The pop of yellow . . . I. DIE.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-travel-photography
More grit. More awesomeness. My hatred of graffiti IRL suddenly disappears when looking behind the lens.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-mural-art
Portuguese tile is indeed some of the most beautiful.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-travel-photography
Just sigh. #OnlyInEurope
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Belen-monastery
The monastery in Belem (cathedral with de Gama’s grave pictured above) is most certainly worth a visit while in Lisbon. And not just because of the pasteis de belem that you can buy down the street.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-
I know that the word “charm” is overused. But come on now . . .
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-
Speaking of charm. . .
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-
TILEWORK.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-plaza-at-night
ARCHITECTURE
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-lighthouse
I know, right? So ugly.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-food
Food. OK, let’s stop here and talk a little about Portuguese food, which –only second to wine–is the most underrated thing . . . ever? With the sea flanking the majority of the country, seafood reigns supreme, but the barbecue, the pastries, the perfectly cooked potatoes, the stews, the . . . Portuguese food is outstanding, friends. And I’m spoiled and eat Spanish food daily and I still can’t stop thinking about some of the dishes we were lucky enough to have.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-pastry
Eat all the pastries.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Douro-View
A river cutting through a city always makes for a dramatic scene (and beautiful bridges).
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Douro-River-Bridge
Bridges like these.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon
I want to take all the pictures.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-travel-pics
Ughhhhhhhhhhhh
Beautiful-Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-
No caption. I have no caption.
Photos-Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-
Make it stop.
Travel-Photos-Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon
Not ugly.
Portugal-Oporto-Porto-Lisbon-mural-street-art
Even the murals are awesome.

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