Friday, October 4, 2019

Final Post: Spain, Morocco, and Portugal

This will be my final post. Our last breakfast was in a cute cafe in our building, Mimos.

We flew Lisbon to Toronto to Chicago to Minneapolis. On our first flight I sat next to...a cat. 

In Toronto, where we went through US Customs, I was selected for a “random” personal check. I never get nervous about the stuff I’m bringing back for my collection jars. Not. 

Do you know about the app Polarsteps? It is a really cool way to track the places you've visited and show a map at the end. I wish I had this thirty years ago. This is just a screenshot but click here to view details of my trip via the app. It tracks your stats as well!

Sitting in Chicago, ready to board our last flight, here is our last selfie. I look tired. I was.

In full disclosure, a couple times prior to this trip I would ask myself “what the hell am I doing traveling with a stranger?” But I couldn’t have asked for a better travel buddy. Steve is organized, has a great sense of direction, is adventurous, kind, smart, and funny as hell. Of course he would rather be traveling with his love Amy, and I would rather be traveling with the hot Moroccan desk attendant from our riad, but considering neither of those were in the cards (at least this trip) it was a great solution for two wanderlust hearts. 

We transcended through bits of Europe and dipped our toes into Africa. We learned so much about those parts of the world and became friends. What an adventure!

  • Days: Twelve (12)
  • Countries: Six (6)
  • Continents: Three (3)
  • Miles: 11,789
  • Steps:190,758 (94.82 miles)
  • Stairs: 212
  • Sangria's: Lots
  • Views on blog: 67,343
On Monday I start a new job. I’ll be consulting with a company that allows me to work fully remote. My goal is to begin leaving Minnesota winters November of 2021; changing jobs was my first step toward that goal. 

Get outside your comfort zone my friends. Explore. Connect. Grow. Learn. 

I’ll see you soon! Rae Ann

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Day Eleven: Lisbon and Belem

Our last full day was spent exploring Lisbon. Outside my bedroom window I could see a lady refurbishing tile on the street. 

We walked along the water where they have a bridge resembling the golden gate. Despite the fact we were surrounded by water a lot on this trip I never wore my swimsuit once. The beach is still my happy place, even if I’m not in a lounge chair sipping a cold drink. 

Lots of beautiful squares in Lisbon. Arch du Rua Augusta and Praça do Comércio. 

Rossio square. 

Throughout Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais we saw the same repeating street tile. It was just gorgeous. Not great for e-scooters, but beautiful designs. 

I’m not going to give away the surprise but I feel it is important for Amy, Steve’s girlfriend, to know how much time he spent looking for something special for her. Here is him at just one of those stops. Steve has a slight case of FOMO but I am confident he landed on the best option. 

We wanted to make our way to Belém so bought a ticket for what we thought would be the metro. We boarded to find our ticket was for the train, and rode illegally one way. Rookie move that thankfully went okay as we weren’t stopped. 

Jerónimos Monastery. 

Padrao dos Descobrimentos, the Discovery Monument. 

Belém Tower. 

It was another perfect weather day in Portugal. We made the entire trip with no rain. Amazing. 

We ended the evening back in Alfama where Steve had  one of his best meals, seafood rice. 

Our last night ended in a darkened, super crowded bar, listening to fado. Tomorrow we will take three flights back to reality. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Day Ten: Sintra, Pena Palace, Quinta de Regaleira, and Cascais

Day ten was spent on a guided tour with Gabriel from Wonder Vans. Great day! The morning was foggy but cleared up nicely. We started at Pena Palace.

More than fifty percent of the world’s cork is from Portugal. At the Pena Palace there is a chalet with cork trim. Look closely below.

The gardens at the Palace are amazing!

Next up was a wine tasting at Celeiros where we tried all kinds of port. Here we are with Gabriel. 

Next up was Quinta da Regaleira. Look for Steve...

Read more about it if you wish, but the Masons built an initiation well we walked through. Very interesting. 

Next up was lunch at Refugidio Cyclisia where we had a traditional Portuguese lunch. I had sheep cheeks. We all had fries and a mouse we added some digestive alcohol to that made it yummy. 

Off to Cabo da Roca which is the western most point of Europe. 

Last stop was Cascais which is pronounced “cash-cash” because it has many rich people. I would love to return (where I could meet a bachelor with lots of cash-cash). 

We transverse back to Lisbon and hit the streets again. We first stopped at what has become our local spot where we had some bread (€2) with two tiny pieces of butter for €3. What? Overall though, prices are very reasonable in Lisbon. 

Next door to the €3 butter is a woman that sells ginja outside her home for €1. I need that gig. 

We jumped on the No. 28 Tram and ended up in the city center where the guy proceeded to tell us the tram was done for the night. Oh well.

We stopped to have a ginja at the place where it apparently first started, a tiny storefront. 

Lisbon is beautiful at night. 

We walked back to our neighborhood where I got a nice salad and chicken pie. Steve not so much. 

Tomorrow is our last full day on this adventure. At dinner we were talking about how time has gone so fast, and yet so slow. We both asked one another with hesitation, “are you sick of me yet?” and both our answers were “no”. Steve has been a great travel buddy - our instincts have proved to be correct. 

Although I miss my girls, and my body could use some rest, I wish I could do this for longer. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Day Nine: Lisbon, Walking and Fado

Day nine brought us to Lisbon by way of an uneventful flight. After a crazy Uber ride we landed at our cute apartment in Alfama. We spent the remaining day exploring Alfama. 

Baby beers...

Throughout our trip we came across many what we called “Instagram Boyfriends” taking “stylish” photos of their girlfriends. The girlfriends pose. They shoot the photo. Both review the photos. The girlfriend suggests different angles. They pose again. Repeat. Steve could barely keep a straight face as I forced him to pose for me. 

This was a typical scene...Steve leading us through the streets of Alfama. He had a perfect walking tour that gave us a nice view of what the area had to offer. 

The tiled buildings are beautiful. 

Look closely at the dogs mouth. So. Cute. 

The drink Ginga is very popular. It is a cherry flavored drink served in a chocolate cup. Yummy. 

We also tried a pastel de bacalhse, a deep fried codfish and potato nugget with cheese. Paired with port. Super yummy. 

Since we snacked along our walk we wanted something light and ended up having a hotdog with ham and cheese. Very good. 

We ended the evening listening to fado. Fado is Portuguese music that is sad, but beautiful. I had no idea what they were saying and yet found myself crying I was so moved. 

My favorite photo of this entire trip is below. We listened to fado in a tiny bar where you had to walk between the guitarist to reach the bathroom and wait until the set was over. Here is Steve waiting for the set to complete. He looks like a serial killer.