While in Lisbon I did some exploring on my own of course. I visited the city of Fatima which was approximately an hour away from Lisbon. I also visited the holy shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.
Finding places to eat in Lisbon was a little difficult for me. The typical Portuguese breakfast includes different varieties of pastries, including their famous Pastel de Nata as well as espresso or any freshly squeezed juice. Lunch was around 2 PM and dinner around 8:30-9 PM, which seemed late but after a late lunch, it’s natural. However, I eventually got accustomed to the routine and the food.
One of my favorite places to eat was at the Time Out Market, which features various foods and chefs. Everything was super fresh and delicious, but get there on time or risk not getting a seat!
As far as the nightlife, there’s always something buzzing in Lisbon. The natives eat a late dinner and enjoy the night with wine and music. They then find themselves at a local bar and then maybe a discotheque or anywhere they can dance and enjoy the night. I spent my weekends either at Bario Alto or Pink Street. Bario Alto is a stretch of different bars and restaurants and Pink Street is literally, a pink street where there are bars and restaurants. My friends and I would go after dinner to Time Out for sangria and to dance our nights away!
The metro system is easy to navigate so traveling throughout Lisbon is easy. There is an above ground train that goes further from the city center to other districts within Lisbon. Lisbon is also notable for their trolley busses so you shouldn’t have any problems getting around.
After my time in Lisbon, a city that I fell deeply in love with, it was time to head to over to Madrid. Madrid was beautiful. And the shopping and the food offerings were plentiful. My favorite brunch spot was La Rollerie, located near the Plaza de Mayor, which was a short walk from where I stayed. While in Madrid, a long time friend and I stayed in a very cute AirBnB close to the city center. Madrid had me shopping! I also explored the city and the local parks, and of I course enjoyed their amazing food and wine.
My shadow abroad trip ended in Barcelona, where I stayed for a few days. The food there was AMAZING! The beach was warm and beautiful (gotta love that Mediterranean sea) and the people were very friendly. In some way, Barcelona reminded me of NYC. It felt like a melting pot of cultures. And I loved the diversity.