YOiLO: You’re Only in Lisbon Once!

Fatima, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
Sintra, Portugal
Cascais, Portugal

This past weekend was the trip to Lisbon! It was a really nice time and met quite a few new people also from Erasmus. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best on Friday or Saturday, so I spent a lot of time dragging around my umbrella. But we didn’t actually do too much sightseeing around Lisbon itself until Sunday, when the weather was better. On the way down we stopped in Fatima and saw the church of Our Lady of Fatima, and on Saturday we went to Sintra and Cascais (we actually also went to Estoril but the trip there was just a half hour in a casino…), which were also very beautiful. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures tell the story!

Our Lady of Fatima church – Fatima, Portugal

An outdoor mass was happening at the same time as the indoor mass.

The thing to do is crawl around the church on your knees…

Inside the church in Fatima

These things are actually wax or candles – the thing to do is to melt a particular one according to what hurts – so if your leg hurts, you melt the leg candle. I think.

On to Lisbon!

Pretty building, but we mostly used it for the Starbucks in the lower right-hand corner 🙂

Lisbon! With the Castle of São Jorge at the top.

A cute little street in which the elderly had their photos displayed outside all of their homes.

Don’t look down!


Entrance to the Castle of São Jorge.

View from Castle of São Jorge.

A window to the world.

Beautiful Lisbon.

One of the things Lisbon is known for – trams!

On Saturday we visited the cities of Sintra and Cascais.

Sintra! Cute little village.

A small trek through the woods to see the Moorish Castle. We ended up not actually seeing much of it because we didn’t know we had to pay!

Castle grounds in the woods.

Later, Cascais.

Pretty much the only interesting thing in Cascais, except when I was able to collect some beach sand 🙂

The last day we finally got to go to a few landmarks in Lisbon – the Tower of Belém, the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Monastery of Jerónimos.

The Tower of Belem

Another window to the world.

Tower of Belem

Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun…

Monument to the Discoveries 

El Monasterio de Jerónimos!

This place was huuuuge!

And very intricate! Those monks lived well.

Courtyard within the monastery.

Monastery of Jerónimos.

Later, we had some free time before we headed back to Santiago.

Pastel de Belem – a custard-filled treat with burnt sugar – SO GOOD. 

Holy oldest bakery ever, Batman!

The “25th of April” Bridge and the Christ King statue.

The trip was great but I wish we had been able to just focus on Lisbon instead of running around this area of Portugal – I felt like I didn’t see as much as I could have!


  • Eat a Pastel de Belem, Portugal’s famous custard tart. As you can see in the picture, it’s a little tart filled with custard and topped with burnt sugar. I wasn’t impressed when I saw it, but I knew from the 20-minute line heading inside the bakery that I was in for a treat (literally).
  • Climb the Tower of Belem. It’s free to enter and the view from the top is beautiful.
  • Go to the Castle of São Jorge for a beautiful view of the entire city and to feel like a soldier protecting a fortress.
  • Drink a Caipirinha, Portugal’s signature cocktail. It’s like a sweeter mojito!

Oh, Porto!

Porto, Portugal
Braga, Portugal

This past weekend I went on a little adventure to Oporto (or just Porto), Portugal with other Erasmus Student Network (the European exchange program – ESN) students. It was so much fun! I took so many pictures, as you can see below, and made several new friends from England and France 🙂 I’ve never really heard Portuguese before and it sounded almost kind of Russian to be honest… good excuse to take a break from Spanish and stuck to English for the weekend 🙂

Anyway, here come the pics!

The first night in Porto…

Francesinha – the first meal in Porto. It’s apparently a type of sandwich filled with different meats, topped with a fried egg, then covered in cheese, and then the whole thing is covered in some beer sauce. Wasn’t quite expecting this, but ate most of it… not the best thing I’ve ever had!

The McD’s had its own little cafe in it 🙂

New friends! From England and France.

 The next day we had a tour with the big group and made our way through the city…

Many buildings are tiled on the outside.

Little pool in a square we always passed by.

On the way to the historic district.

New English friend 🙂

Many buildings are also very broken down or seemed burnt… the city doesn’t seem to be putting an effort into rebuilding.

Neat art outside a building.

Majestic Cafe – where JK Rowling spent a lot of time writing the first Harry Potter book! One of my favorite parts of the trip, but didn’t get to go inside 🙁

And we are moving on 🙂

Something about her was a little fishy… 

Top of a market place we went to.

Tiny little peppers! Or something… 

Tiny little red peppers!

Enough spices?

Olive you this much!

Who’s got a sweet tooth?

Pretty building.
Just wandering around!
In front of the Porto cathedral

Beautiful statue in front of Porto City Hall.

In front of Porto City Hall.

Porto City Hall.

The beautiful walls inside the train station!

Neat view! The only good thing about hilly cities!

Behind the Clérigos Church

Clérigos Church – didn’t get to see the front of the tower – didn’t realize what it was at the time!

Little market we walked through 🙂

A “hot dog”… 

Just around the riverbend 🙂

Neat sculpture – it’s supposed to look like the water is supporting it. And the apartments behind it are cute, too.

Hello, beautiful port!

The bridge connecting Porto and the city across the river, Vila Nova de Gaia.

Wouldn’t you like to eat lunch right there?

Pics or it didn’t happen!

We even had a wine tour and tasting!

Tradional Port Winery

Wine tasting!

Traditional and authentic white and red Port wines right in their birth city 🙂

Each of these was about the size of a small and deep pool, and you could smell the wine coming through them! Yum 🙂

We took a lovely boat tour around the river – got to sit right up front! It was such a beautiful, sunny day!

Later had a deeelicious dinner at an Italian restaurant – black spaghetti with shrimp, clams, and baby tomatoes 🙂

 Porto at twilight!

The next morning we went to Palacio da Bolsa…

View of the Porto Cathedral from the Palacio da Bolsa

Staircase in Palacio da Bolsa

Ornate ceilings in the palace!

This room was decorated completely in ornate, golden tiles and wood all over the room – it was sooo beautiful! The type of room you’d expect a royal ball in or something.

 Later we made our way to the Porto Cathedral, which is at one of the top-most points in the city. We didn’t go inside but look at the view!

View from the Porto Cathedral – the Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Church) can be seen.

Side of the Porto Cathedral

Side of the Porto Cathedral

Porto Cathedral

View from Porto Cathedral

 On our way back to Santiago we stopped at a little town called Braga, which nobody wanted to go to initially because we were all tired, but ended up being a nice little stop 🙂

Entrance into little street in Braga

Second best meal of the weekend – simple bruschetta with prosciutto 🙂 Num!


  • I highly recommend visiting the port. It was absolutely breathtaking, but make sure the weather will be good when you visit! Try to take a boat tour, too.
  • Port wine – it was very syrupy and thick, but this is the birth place of a very famous wine, so make sure to head to a winery! There are plenty around the city, and even across the bridge.
  • Walk along the top of the bridge at twilight. This is the when the city is at its most beautiful and you can see all the lights along the river.
  • Visit the Porto cathedral. I missed the inside but the outside grounds has stunning views of the river and the entire city.
  • Francesinha – the traditional Porto dish. It wasn’t my favorite thing, but if you’re a meat lover you need to try this dish at least once! Plus, you can find it all over the city.
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