EmilyPlaza.jpg This past weekend I traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, with five friends. We saw so many interesting things that it is hard to believe we were only there for three days!

We stayed in the central part of Lisbon near Plaza de Commercios (photo, right) at a hostel called Yes! Lisbon. The cool part about staying in hostels in Europe is making new friends from all over the world. We met some great people from Portugal and beyond, and I even learned a few Portuguese recipes to take home with me.

Emily-food.jpg We did not have a single bad meal in Portugal. Portuguese bread is incredible, along with the fresh seafood and the famous pasteis de Belem (photo, left). No one should ever visit Lisboa without trying these things, as well as hamburger (oddly enough) and the local green wine.

EmilySantaJusta.jpg Because there is so much to see in Lisboa, we took a double-decker tourist bus to all of the main attractions, like the Tower of Belem and the Santa Justa Lift (photo, right). Lisbon also has a famous Jesus statue like in Rio, and a bridge that looks exactly like the Golden Gate. Ironically enough, people travel by trolley in Lisbon as well.

EmilyCaves.jpg One of my favorite things about the city was the beautiful mosaics sidewalks. Even many streets are intricately designed with mosaic, and most buildings are covered in colorful tile.

We also took a day trip to Sintra, which was a small town 30 minutes by train outside of Lisbon. In Sintra, we visited La Quinta da Regaleira de Sintra, which was a summer home of a royal Portuguese family. The grounds have a series of underground caves that we found by walking over a pond on a path of stones (photo, left). The maze of tunnels between the grotto and caves was so dark that we had to use our camera flash to navigate.

Emily-Group.jpg Later that day, we visited Palacio de Pena, which had rich Romantic decor and an incredible view of the ocean.

Portuguese the language is so different than Spanish, that all we could really say without English was “obrigada,” which means thank you. Portuguese people understand Spanish, but some friends explained that trying to speak in Spanish to someone in Portugal is an insult because of the country’s history. Also, since we’re double foreigners, they probably would not understand Spanish with our accent.

Portuguese people were very welcoming to visitors, and I would love to spend more time there someday.