.: Home… is where the heart is :.

Everyone says: home is where the heart is. I totally agree and I have to say my heart is in so many places. Home…. once born in South Portugal, that was what I thought it was going to be my forever home:

This is home! My feet on the wet sand with the sound of the waves breaking slowly as my soundtrack. The smell of the sea, the sound of the seagulls and the boats. If I close my eyes I can easily imagine myself back.

Home was also to go to the mountains and jump between the rocks and climb trees with my sis and my dad

We had a fair amount of outdoors life when growing up and amazing weather! Looking back I feel privileged!

Then I went to uni when I was 17th and moved to Lisbon, which was my home for 8 years! I love Lisbon! This is where most of my friends live and where we’ve started to live together almost 10 years ago.

It means Fado, it means Saudade…. oh I miss it quite a lot! It’s quite funny because since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to live in Lisbon. Every time I go back now it feels like holiday, but still comes harder and harder to come back. Regardless where I am in the world, a big part of my heart will always be in Lisbon!

I also know I’ll be back one day, just a matter of when

Then more than 5 years ago I moved to London and whereas the first year was getting used to it, it started to feel like home.

It’s amazing to live in such a multicultural city surrounded by historical monuments around us. Ever since I moved to South West London, I do feel at home here. I love Chiswick, Kew & Richmond. Love the gardens and the pubs.

I’ve also spent 2 years in Bristol, which I could easily call home as well. The whole lifestyle, people enjoying life a bit more, socialising and being more friendly than in London was something I could easily adapt to

So I have to admit my heart is broken with all this #Brexit topic, because I never believed it would happen at all. The place which I’m calling home might no longer be so in the years to come. I can imagine the pain of the people being sent “home” feel heartbroken when home is precisely where they are. Hard to see a country being broken apart fuelled by lies and blindness.

So who knows what home might be tomorrow, at least I had the joy of considering a few places like home. All of them will always be special to me ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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.: Exploring Lisbon March :.

Before I start to share the photos from Japan, I need to go back in time and share the photos from my weekend away in Lisbon. I didn’t took as many as usual because I spend quite a lot of time socializing with friends

A stop for ice-cream, yummy!

As the weather was rubbish we went to explore a gorgeous place that my sister found, perfect for rainy days

And more sweets

For lunch we went to Time Out Market as there are so many good places for a meal. I went to Chef Marlene as they had a choice of octopus which I love

A mandatory stop for us is a visit to Brasileira for an espresso

Before I went to the airport, I had the chance to try the best pasteis de Nata in Lisbon, from Manteigaria. So delicious!!!

Looking forward to be back!

.: Last day in Lisbon :.

Oh yes, I’m absolutely late with my Lisbon photos. I’ve been taking quite a lot of photos recently, which means it’s quite easy to get behind the editing and checking all of them. Finally managed to finish my Lisbon photos. It was such a good week!

For dinner we went to a place I was really looking forward to go, called Atalho Real. I ย can’t recommend this place enough! From the friendly staff, to the place itself and finally the quality of the meat. So good! Seriously!

Delicious tender meat! so yummy!

For dessert we had carob brownie with strawberry ice-cream, delicious!

And then it was time to get back to UK. What an amazing week!

.: A Royal Brunch in Lisbon :.

Me and my sister decided that the best plan for the Saturday, providing we had a dinner booked for the evening, was to go for a brunch. After searching in Zomato I’ve decided I wanted to go to “Palacete Chafariz D’el Rei“. Sounds royal, doesn’t it? It really is! The place is really really gorgeous.

It’s also very hard to find. You need to cross a lot of scaffolding and little narrow street to get there, but once you get there everything transforms into a whole new world.

The little palace, also includes a small garden on the outside. Quite adorable

The view

 

We should have booked it, as it was already quite full. But the staff was kind enough to try to find and prepare a table for us. We’ve got a place in the glass room

I was amazed by the place already, it feels you are visiting an old friend that happens to be a royal. Really really relaxing! All the staff was quite young and friendly. (Not that I’m old!!!!)

Now for the food. We start with a fresh fruit salad

Breads, fresh orange juice and our eggs with tomato and mozzarella. Everything really yummy! Make you try the handmade jam, so good!!!!

Dessert was an orange cake, I loved it!

Look at this china, seriously, isn’t it beautiful?

Royal china

Coffee was a nespresso! What else? ๐Ÿ™‚

We didn’t felt time passing by, it was absolutely relaxing! The best brunch I’ve ever had, and with the service on top of it, I’m sure it beats a London Savoy!

Tip for the ladies: The boys serving us were really charming and good looking!

So happy that I’ve decided to visit this place. Dreamy!!!

.: Another food day in Lisbon :.

On my last Friday in Lisbon I really had a great food day.

Lunch was in Sintra, in a traditional place called Apeadeiro. It’s really easy to find, in the city centre.
As soon as we’ve got in, we were welcomed by really friendly staff. In our table we had fresh cheese (ohhh I really missed this!) and some other starters

The bread was simply delicious! It was refilled a few times. For main I’ve decided to have the grilled squid.

Grilled squid – Half a portion

Yes, believe it or not, the photo above is half a portion and it was quite filling. Absolutely fresh and delicious! The boys had veal which was pretty good as well.

Still there was space for some pudding, chocolate mousse

To end our meal, we were served port wine (complimentary). I was impressed by the fact that they’ve left the bottle in our table, so we could have whatever we wanted. If this isn’t good service, trust based, then I don’t know what is!

Port Wine

Overall we left pretty amazed with the food quality, and the genuine honest good service. Can’t recommend enough! As soon as I’m back in Sintra, I will be back!

Dinner

For dinner, the plan was something really special. Both me and my sister went to fulfil a long awaited wish list: visit a Fado House in the heart of Lisbon! This was a kind gift from the Zomato team in Portugal. Thank you!!!

Cafe Luso is located in Bairro Alto, everyone’s favourite going-out area both tourists and locals alike. I find Bairro Alto quite a special place because all the classes mix here, poor and posh alike. There are really trendy restaurants and bars and somehow it all combines together.

Bairro in the evening

For years I wasn’t really a fan of Bairro Alto, simply because it’s always crowded. But I guess that once you live in London, crowds mean something different. And I have to admit it’s quite nice to have a drink (or more) outside while talking with friends in a nice warm evening.

I digress, apologies. Back to Cafe Luso. Let’s set up the mood properly.

I have to say thar Cafe Luso was mostly oriented for foreigners. The most traditional fado houses can be found in Alfama. Still I would recommend this experience to locals alike (it was a bit expensive though, 82โ‚ฌ for 2 people).

The space is quite big on the inside, the tables were filled with tourists, but it was a nice ambience. The “show” starts at 20h30, so we had been advised to arrive at 20h15, which is what we did.

The menu has a couple of options with pre-planned menus, which makes the choice a lot easier. I had the F which was octopus warm salad followed by a meat main.

The show includes not only Fado, but also “Marchas”, which is a Lisbon tradition in early June. If you are planning to visit Lisbon I would recommend you try to visit around early June so you can see it. All the city gets decorated with lots of colours and everyone eats and dances outside. Really good fun.

Marchas Populares de Lisboa

But the main part is all about the Fado. There were 3 main “fadistas” (People that sing Fado): a young lady (which was my favourite), a guy and a more traditional Fadista.

Marchas

So, we have a saying in Portugal which is Silence, we’ll be singing Fado. (Silencio que se vai cantar o Fado), which means a sign of respect for Fado. Because it’s so soulful, we get drawn to it and absorb every word. Maybe because of the drinks, some of the guys in the main tables were quite noisy.

Silencio que se vai cantar o fado

The food arrives as the show carries on. It’s served slowly so you can enjoy the show. So please don’t arrive starving, otherwise it may be a bit painful to wait for all the dishes to come.

Octopus warm salad

Main dish

Pudding was a brownie. Felt more like a chocolate cake than a brownie, but good anyway

We’ve decided to stay for the 2nd part of the show, which starts at around 22h20. They close the main room and the ambience becomes a lot cosier. The small tables get candles and the evening progresses on the more romantic side. Both me and my sister decided to have some liquors.

I really recommend the stay for the 2nd part of the show. I’ve really enjoyed it! We didn’t stayed for the end, but it was an amazing dinner. Quite an experience

Tip: If the “Fadista” sings really well, at the end of the song we say “Ah Fadista!”

After the Fado experience, we’ve both decided to go to a rooftop bar. Yes I know, I can’t resist them, can I? As we were so close, we’ve decided to visit Silk.

Silk is located in a gorgeous building called Espaco Chiado

And this is the bar:

(Photos above from google)

The view is really beautiful, but still it doesn’t beat “Rooftop Bar @ Hotel Mundial

I wanted a Portuguese gin, but they didn’t had any in stock. I was also upset that regardless of the gin everything would be served with cucumber. Not impressed with the drinks choice but the view is worth it.

So overall, it was an amazing day!!! Can’t hardly wait to be back!

Happy Easter! I’m travelling to Copenhagen for the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

.: Exploring Sintra :.

For those of you that follow my blog for a while, you will know that I love love love Sintra. I still hope that one day I’ll live there! It has everything, close enough to Lisbon, amazing forest and magical feeling, enchanted castles and a gorgeous coast, with some nice beaches as well! So all the chances I have to visit Sintra, I’ll taken them. (You can see an older post here)

We went to Sintra for Lunch. I’ll share that in a different post, because the place was amazing! Therefore we didn’t had that long to explore around.

Silly photo

Lovely door

Together

Details

And believe me, the photos don’t do it justice!

How to reach Sintra (from Lisbon):

* The easiest way is to rent a car and go there. I recommend this option simply because driving around Sintra is quite an experience as well. If you’re taking this option make sure you drive all the way to Cascais through the back-roads, you will have an amazing view of the coast! It takes roughly 30m from the city centre.

* By train, you can get the trains in several stations in Lisbon and I believe it takes 40/50m. I haven’t done this journey for a while so not sure anymore.

Where to stay:

* If you’re driving, then I recommend Penha Longa Resort. This place itself has a lot to explore.
* In the city centre you have historical Lawrence’s (It’s a charming 5 star hotel)
* Seteais Palace – I wish I could stay there myself, this place is gorgeous

What to see and do:

* Charming city centre
* Pena Palace – Breathtaking palace, a palace like no other in the world!!!
* Monserrate – It’s another palace, a bit smaller but the gardens are quite beautiful as well
* Quinta da Regaleira – This is my personal favourite. It’s linked to the templars, so you’ll have the chance to explore secret tunels. The palace is pretty charming as well. I’ve been there 5 times (I think) and I love it every single time

.: Gin Tonic with a view – Le Chat :.

One of the things which is quite trendy in Lisbon is exploring Gin Tonic. They love having English Gin, but as I have plenty of that here in the supermarkets, what I’m really keen on having is Portuguese Gins. And if I can match that with sunshine and a nice view even better! So that was the plan for one of the afternoons we were in Lisbon.

Le Chat

Le Chat is located in the middle of 24 de Julho street, a famous street just in front ofย a night-out area (Santos).

Photo from google

Another photo from google

It’s brilliant that Lisbon has so many “views” (Miradouros). I need to explore them all, I’m sure I’ll make it or not ahhahahah

I’ve ordered Gin Mare and he ordered something else along with a dessert

Gin Tonic

Gin Tonic with a view

The view itself is not one of the best, as you see the harbour-side pretty much, but the space is really relaxing.

I felt that the chairs could be a bit more comfortable, and we didn’t really had a table, just a cube on the floor to place our drinks, but oh well!

After our drinks we even had the chance to visit the Zomato Offices in Lisbon ๐Ÿ˜€ The guys were quite happy with all the female staff around. It seems to be such a relaxed and creative environment, so cool!

Zomato Selfie!

So quite a nice afternoon!