In November I realised I would spend 6 months in perpetual darkness. This is of course something that a Swede would be aware of, because it happens every year, but if we did not forget every Spring, how would we survive? Right?
Well, I decided to make plans for a weekend in February when I need the light the most, but I did not want to go to the Canary Islands (been there, done that) or any other beach-location. First, I´m not much of a beach-person and second, I knew I would be traveling alone and beach-holidays are boring for a single person. Have you noticed that they only seem to attract couples and families? Well, I´ve had a great holiday in Palma de Mallorca by myself two years ago, but as a rule I try and avoid family-orientated holidays when traveling alone.
So the selection of places to go for a weekend in February for a bit of sun and light is not that large, but I ended up with Lisbon. I´ve heard loads of good things about the city, and it´s been 30+ years since I was in Portugal (because I was robbed, but thats another story…) so it was time for a re-visit! It has been on my bucket-list for a few years now, so it seemed like the perfect time to tick one off:)
As the date approached I realized Portugal has had a really cold winter (For Portugal that is) but because a cold winter in Lisbon is Springtime in Sweden, I was not worried. Yes, I had a very rainy Saturday but taking my trusted MacBook along, I spent that day in bed watching a full season on Netflix of River, a really good detective story starring Stellan Skarsgård (I´ve had a crush on that man since I was 12 and he was a teenage idol).
I spent hours choosing a hotel, but wanted to try a cheaper option, as I´m usually pretty fussy with hotels. But as I want to travel more, I also want to keep costs down, so I decided to try a hostel/hotel that came highly recommended in guidebooks, articles and trip advisor. It´s the beautiful pink house on the picture. The Independente Collective was perfectly situated between the old town Barrio Alto and a part of town thats mostly residential Principal Real. It is also just opposite an amazing terass for looking out over the city!
The hotel is very shabby chic, and I love that old-world-feeling, but I realize my son would view it differently. The stairs are narrow and high (as often in Lisbon) and being slightly phobic in closed spaces I can´t honestly recommend the elevator…But I did adore the place (and I´m not getting paid to write that!).
This is the reception of the hotel, See what I mean? The place was full of little quirky things:) The bed was comfy, even though I would suggest that they invest in proper pillows…
The breakfast was included in the price (which was very moderate) and the highlight of my morning. Freshly scrambled eggs, baked cakes, fresh bread and fruit juices, muesli and yoghurt and fresh fruits – it was all there and served with a smile. Over all the staff was lovely and friendly and helpful, which is sooo nice when you are traveling on your own!
Lisbon was built on seven hills, and it is something worth to consider. It´s up and down, up and down…If you bring out a map and decide to take a shortcut to a place you may very well turn a corner and find yourself staring at a VERY long upward hill!
Or you could be going down of course! There is always two sides to coin, right?
Lisbon is very cool and hip, with great shopping but most of all great food! Portuguese cuisine is quite mild in tastes and not as it´s Spanish neighbor heavy in garlic and tomatoes. At my hotel I found a really chic restaurant Dependente, but the city is full of good places. I also strolled into Time Out Market where you gan go right and see a typical old-fashioned market or go left and be in the middle of a food-market of the future. I strongly recommend that for a visit, and a lunch!
Mostly I just walked the streets and enjoyed the beautiful views and the very beautiful houses, many with tiles in fantastic colors. Three days in Lisbon was not near enough, and now when I have had a taste of the city I will definitely go back!