Surf Europe: Portugal Part 1

Crazy? Maybe. Portugal two times in one year. Why?

For some reason I am wildly attracted by the majesty of the cities, the beauty of the countryside, the stunning beaches, the perfect weather, the wine, the food, the hospitality, the culture. We started off our three week adventure with four days in Lisbon. A little bit of jet lag and a lot of consumption of food and alcohol had us spinning like five year olds on the Mad Tea Party ride at Disneyland. In my pre-adolecent fury I was able to jot down a list of things that made me incredibly happy in those first four days:

1. Cobblestone streets
2. Pastries for breakfast and lunch
Croissants, Natas (go to Belem), anything cream filled, powdery and flaking all over my shirt.
3. Caipiroskas
4. Playa Grande, Cascais, beaches beaches beaches
5. Espresso
6. Castles
Yeah, I’ve been to Sintra three times. So sue me. There’s something to be said about a day where you can be in a 1,000 year old ruins, walk in a 400 year old underground cave, then drink a bottle of vino verde while eating octopus salad. (let’s ignore the pastry at the end, K?)
7. Pao com chouriço
No one recorded the moment of sublime inspiration when an unsung genius thought of taking a delicious “chouriço” (a smoked sausage made of pork marinated in red wine), place it inside bread dough, and cook it in a wood oven. The result is incredible. You can buy chouriço bread at bakeries, fairs or on the side of the road. But think twice before you try it: it is wildly addictive.
8. Mercado da Ribeira
A 19th Century building hosts 35 kiosks – all branded in the same smart black and white signage and selling regional specialities, including Azeitão sheep’s cheese, plates of ham, black sausage….I’ll take everything.

We made it. Without getting arrested. Without surfing. We walked so much, surprisingly without a muffin top. And certainly ready for the next leg of the adventure: San Sebastián. Surely one of those three things could be addressed.



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