Lisbon Travel Guide


Two months since leaving Europe, and I’m already feeling nostalgic. I crave those winding cobblestone roads, detailed iron balconies, and I could really go for a café con leche right about now. So, what’s the best thing to do when I feel this pain? Rub lemon juice in the wound (obviously) and look through all the photos from my travels this past year.

In an effort to share what I’ve learned as a broke English teacher traveling Europe and chronicle my travels in a somewhat organized way, I’m making travel guides for everywhere I visited this past year! First up: Lisbon, Portugal. I visited Lisbon almost a year ago in October 2018, so the timing of this one is pretty perfect. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Lisbon in the fall!



In the fall the weather was variable and we had a few days of rain. Be sure to pack layers; you will work up a sweat hiking up and down hills during the day, but the temperature will drop at night.



Good walking shoes that will allow you to handle the hills and a rain jacket.


Language Tip: Obrigado/a = Thank you

Obrigado is the masculine version and obrigada is the feminine. However! Portuguese confusingly differs from Spanish in that the speaker’s gender is what determines the gender of the word. You use obrigado if you identify as male, and obrigada if you identify as female.


Best View: Miradouro de Santa Luzia

A beautiful view of the hilltops of the city winding down to the river, and great scenery for photographs. Though it’s a beautiful place to stop and take pictures, it’s not overly crowded which is always a plus when trying to get that perfect shot!


Market: Time Out Market

Time Out Market has so many amazing cuisine options and the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had! Ginjinha, a tart cherry liqueur served in a chocolate cup, is a must try. Get there early or enjoy a meal during off-peak times because it really fills up for dinner.

Brunch: Restaurante Infame

This restaurant is on the pricier side but is a big bang for your buck and has one of the most decadent brunch menus I’ve ever tasted. Three courses, a cocktail and coffee — what a way to start the day!


Dinner: Chinês clandestinos

So, here’s something you won’t find on TripAdvisor: Chinese restaurants illegally operating out of people’s homes are a huge thing in Lisbon. It’s pretty accepted now and these restaurants are becoming more popular among tourists, but something about knocking on someone’s apartment door and dining in their living room is really an experience. To top it off, it was also some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. We visited Rua do Benformoso 59, but there are several in the Mouraria neighborhood and a quick google search will help you find the address of the one that appeals most to you. Chinês clandestino is a must-try if you’re visiting Lisbon.


Dessert: Nata

The best place to get nata is supposed to be Pastéis de Belém, and while their pastries were amazing, I’ve never met a nata I didn’t like. Basically every nata I had while in Portugal was a heavenly experience. You can’t go wrong with custard dusted in powdered sugar.


Drinks: Red Frog

Continuing with the clandestine theme, speakeasies are also very popular for a night out in Lisbon. You may have to wait a little bit at the door, but the drinks at Red Frog are experimental, gorgeous, and delicious.

Nightlife: Pensão Amor

Located in the historic red light district, Pensão Amor plays on its roots with pin-up graffiti, stripper poles and burlesque shows. The atmosphere is to die for but my favorite thing about this bar is that each drink has an aphrodisiac rating indicated on the menu by a scale of 1 to 5 penises.

I can’t wait to go back to Lisbon one day and see what else this amazing city has to offer. What are your must-see destinations in Portugal? Let me know in the comments!

Lisbon, portugal

Everything Can Go Wrong, But It Probably Won’t: The Highs and Lows of Moving Abroad

View of Palacio Real de Madrid

I knew that moving abroad would be stressful and that I would have to deal with a lot of logistics. I knew that I would have to get a visa extension, a bank account, an apartment and a phone plan all in the first month. For someone who gets overwhelmed by going to the post office, this laundry list was daunting but it was something I was willing to deal with in order to realize my dream of moving to Spain.

Looking down to corridor from Plaza Mayor

What I didn’t account for was all the unexpected stressors and inconveniences that come with moving to a new country. For me these included: losing my American SIM card, my laptop completely breaking down two weeks into my move, having to get a new laptop shipped from the U.S. in order to have an English keyboard, and losing access to a lot of my apps and accounts due to my phone number change and new laptop. As you can probably tell, technology is not my friend.

This series of unfortunate events had me running around an unknown city, making multiple phone calls in an unfamiliar language, and spending money I had not originally budgeted for. However, while I endured some sleepless nights and a few emotional calls to my parents, I was able to get it all worked out. And that’s what I have to remind myself.

I’ve learned that my outlook and attitude have more power than any of these inconveniences. Sometimes, something as simple as losing your SIM card can seem like a huge disaster when piled on top of other stressors. Things can start to look pretty bleak and I am definitely guilty of overreacting at times when one small thing goes wrong, but I’m getting better.

Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park

The thing about travel or living abroad is that everything is augmented. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and sometimes having to make a customer service phone call in Spanish seems like the most impossible task. But, we persevere, and we make it to the other side. Oftentimes, we emerge stronger and more empowered because we accomplished something that we never would have had we just stayed in our comfortable little bubble.

It’s such a cliche, but travel isn’t just about exploring new places, it’s about exploring the depths within ourselves and pushing past what is familiar. Though it can be uncomfortable at times we should all go somewhere, do something, meet someone new. It’s not always the beautiful scenic view of an ancient city. Sometimes it’s getting lost while trying to reach your visa appointment; but the lows make the highs that much more beautiful and that’s why I found myself on an plane one month ago moving to a new country in search of new adventures.



Big News, Big Changes


If you’re in any of my close circles, this probably isn’t news to you. However, if we haven’t caught up in a while, or are strangers—first of all, thank you for reading! Say hi and let’s connect! Second of all, you probably don’t know that I’m finally taking the leap and moving to Spain in September.


This is something that I have wanted to do since I stepped off the plane after my semester abroad in college. I spend every day missing the sights, smells, flavors, and vibes of Spain. True story: I recently cried while watching the Lizzie McGuire Movie because I missed living among the European scenery so much. I applied to teach abroad programs for the past two years since graduation. However, neither year seemed like the best time. I was just getting my feet under me after college, I didn’t have the money saved up to travel, or I didn’t get placed in the region I wanted.

This year, I applied to a new program and was placed in Madrid. Everything seemed to align. I have some money saved, my boyfriend is moving to Maine around the same time, and I feel like I’m in a stable enough place to introduce some change and uncertainty into my life.


However, since I’ve been wanting to do it for so long, I forgot how much of a leap this move would be for me. As my departure date moves closer, I find myself becoming more and more anxious and uncertain. Every day a new worry pops into my mind. Will I be able to make friends? How do I find an apartment? Will I be homesick? Is this the right choice?SONY DSC

If you’ve looked at my Instagram lately, you’ll notice that all of my content and captions are overwhelmingly positive, even sappy. While this positivity isn’t disingenuous, it is still only part of the story. I have been using relentless optimism as a coping mechanism to avoid drowning in the terrifying ambiguity of these next few weeks.

This unwillingness to grasp the depth of my feelings about the move has bled into in my real life as well. Almost every conversation I have with someone about moving goes like this: “You’re moving to Spain? Wow, that’s so exciting!” “Yeah, I’m excited.” End of conversation. I’ve been keeping my anxiety about the move close to my chest because I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the amazing opportunity to travel, or like I’m not looking forward to all of the adventure it will bring. That said, change always comes with uncomfortable feelings, they do not mean that the change is not positive.


Sometimes my emotions get the best of me, but I’m trying enjoy my last few weeks in the U.S. to the fullest extent. Spending time with my boyfriend and family, taking a trip, and enjoying some time off of work are all I need to focus on right now. I know that moving to Spain will come with its challenges, but worrying about them will only make the transition harder. I am lucky enough to have people and things in my life that make it hard to leave, and I’m even luckier to have their support during this new chapter.


This whole experience has reminded me the it’s never too late to make a change in your life. Often, you and your worries about the future are the only thing holding you back from doing things that will make you happy. Even if it’s just in a small way like trying a new food, or going to an event where you don’t know a single person, jumping into the unknown is what makes life exciting. So at the end of the day, yeah, I’m excited.