Lisbon

lisbon is one of my favorite cities that i’ve only been to during long layovers.

i went two years ago on my way back from a work trip in france. i didn’t sleep because i had no idea when i’d be back in lisbon, and wanted to see as much as possible. who knew i’d be back so soon

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i won’t lie, when we got to the miradouro das portas do sol, i got slightly emotional. i didn’t know when i’d get to see that viewpoint again, and the last time i went it was slightly gloomy outside. when we went, it was a beautiful day and the colors were so vivid and i just felt overcome with all the happy feelings.

WHAT WE ATE

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i knew we were going to visit Pastéis de Belém as soon as i realized that we had a few hours to kill in lisbon. they’re known for these small egg custards called pastel de nata. incredible. but before that, we were hungry for actual lunch food and trekked to get bifanas, aka pork stew sandwiches. they were salty and delicious and perfect when paired with a cold ass beer.

it was a great little trip, and i told myself i’d make it a point to actually see lisbon beyond long layovers.

Madrid

this is going to a short one, as we only stayed in madrid for one night and spent most of our time in bars.

flying out of madrid was definitely not the plan until last minute, because we were dumb and only initially booked our trip to spain and waited to book a flight back. highly not recommended, haha. but we did have fun for the small amount of time we were in madrid, as there was a city-wide tapas crawl going on.

WHERE WE STAYED

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i loved ana’s apartment so much. it was clean, stylish, and available last minute. the only thing i wasn’t too crazy about is lugging our stuff up 5 flights of stairs. we were tired, haha. but she was sweet and had water for us in the room and the view out of the window was lovely. it was also located right in the middle of madrid, so walking everywhere was a breeze. and she was the one who told us about the tapas crawl.

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i would say that madrid was beautiful, but i definitely would like to go back. it was a nice city to round off our trip, though.

what can i say about spain? it was special because it was our first trip abroad together, and it exceeded all of our expectations. i would definitely love to go back, but would want to spend time in the northern parts. have any of you ever been? be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Granada

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the next city on my recap of our spain trip: granada.

when planning our trip to spain, one of tom’s coworkers couldn’t recommend granada enough. we also heard great things from a couple we recently became friends with that visited the same exact cities we did during the summer. we were excited, we experienced, and quickly realized that granada would become one of our favorite cities ever.

WHERE WE STAYED

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we stayed in this airbnb and it was incredible. we had the entire apartment to ourselves, which was nice as we got in late a bunch of times and didn’t have to worry about waking anyone. there was a spanish guitar in the apartment, which tom decided to tune + play. rosa was super communicative and we felt super comfortable in the neighborhood we were in. it was also very close to the heart of granada, so we were able to walk to most of the places we needed to get to.

THINGS WE SAW

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granada is smaller than barcelona, and i definitely encourage walking around and getting lost in the city. we wandered the streets with very few plans and loved it. we made it a point to see the alhambra, something you can’t miss when visiting granada. it’s also one of the main attractions (if not the main attraction) of the city. make sure to book your tickets in advance, as tours + access tickets book rather quickly. and if you’re like us and wait til the last minute to do everything, i have another option for you! our airbnb host was gracious enough to introduce us to the granada card, which gave us access to not only the alhambra + the gardens, and any other major attractions in the city. highly recommended.

WHAT WE ATE

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i’ll preface this by saying that most of these photos will probably look like complete shit, and i’m totally okay with that. granada is the original part of spain where tapas come free with every round of beer that you order and holy shit, did we take advantage. yes, you read that correctly. free tapas with every goddamn round of beer. besides the alhambra, most of our time in granada was spent drinking and eating. luckily, those are the two things that the locals encourage.

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i’m pretty sure “dos cañas por favor” is now a permanent part of my vocabulary. our first stop was at taberna la tana. it was crowded and we had no idea what we were doing. some internal questions included “do they know we’re here for the free food?”, “do we ask for the free tapas?”, and “shit this is so fucking stressful”. we started by ordering two glasses of wine and a minute later, we were handed a plate and it was on. 5 more rounds later and we decided to tap out. we then headed to bar los diamantes. from what i remember, if you ordered wine then you got a specific set of tapas and if you ordered beer, you got a different set. it was the first time either of us had fried, whole anchovies but that saltiness combined with cold beer? heaven. the most tapas + beer we had were at rosario varela. hungover and in search of food, we ended up at cafe lisboa and it was just what we needed. bar poe was one of the last places we visited before leaving, and also one of our favorites. it’s owned by this british expat and his wife who loved their 3-day vacation in granada so much that they decided to stay there for the last 13 years. it was a great conversation, the food was amazing, and he said something to me that stuck with me:

“SPAIN IS BEAUTIFUL BUT AFTER YOU LEAVE GRANADA, YOU’LL SOON REALIZE THAT IT WAS THE BEST CITY ON YOUR TRIP.”

HE WASN’T THE FIRST PERSON TO SAY THAT TO US. WE HEARD IT FROM EVERYONE THAT’S BEEN TO GRANADA, AND THEY WERE ALL RIGHT. IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO GO, FUCKING TAKE IT.