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Lisbon | Portugal

MELANCHOLY AND PURE ZEST FOR LIFE

→ Finally we reach Lisbon – our favorite city in Europe! We’ve been here many times before, in this wonderful city right on the river Tejo. Every time we visit, we discover new and exciting things – the city has just so much to offer. What we don’t know on the day of arrival, it is Santo-António-Festival. At this annual event, the whole city celebrates the holy António, the patron of the city Lisbon. The streets are covered in colorful garlands, sardines (a national dish) are grilled and sold at nearly every corner and there is party music everywhere you go. Our hotel is in the middle of the traditional old-town Alfama, in the center of Lisbon. When we arrive at the hotel “Santiago de Alfama Boutique Hotel”, the whole city is a big party and there is not even the slightest chance to think of getting any sleep when everyone is celebrating in front of the hotel’s doorstep. Even being totally exhausted from a wedding that we’ve been to the night before, we decide to join the party and walk through the small streets of Alfama – we have the best time dancing, eating Sardines like the locals and just purely celebrating until the morning hours.

What a party, what a night!

The next day, not only we feel it, but the whole city seems to be hung-over. The streets are quiet and the people of Lisbon take it very easy on this lazy day, and so do we. We walk to the “Café a Brasileira”, a wonderful café from the turn of the 19th century in belle époque style and where intellectuals and artists of Lisbon used to meet. A double espresso and a couple of “Pasteis de Natas” (very delicious puff-pastry filled with vanilla and cinnamon pudding that should actually be forbidden for specific reason), we get enough energy to start the rest of the day. We continue walking to the district “Principe Real” that lies on a hilltop with many small boutiques, cafes and restaurants. We have lunch at “A Cevicheria” and enjoy different unique creations of ceviche at a stylish but relaxed atmosphere. For dessert we got some frozen yoghurt at “Frozz” right next door and walk across to the small park “Jardim do Principe Real” to enjoy our dessert on a bench underneath our favorite tree, a large really old cedar.

Gin Lovers Lisbon

Gin Lovers Lisbon

A few steps down the road, we then go to “Embaixada Concept Store”, an impressive antique villa (more like a small palace) with a number of small boutiques with unique and Portuguese products. We meet Fabio, a cool bartender of “Gin Lovers”, a bar and provider of well-selected global gins – this place is already well-known in Portugal, as we find out later in the city Porto. We have a nice conversation with Fabio and speak about Gin, his hometown Lisbon and his favorite hobby, cliff-diving (!). He then invites us to watch the next Portugal game of the European Championship the next evening together with his friends and family.

After a long last night and an extensive tour through Lisbon, we feel exhausted. Our feet are tired, so we take the famous tram number 28, which runs through the most prominent districts of Lisbon, back to our hotel. The white and yellow trams of the city go back decades and represent a landmark of Lisbon, they are still used as daily means of transport by the Lisbon people. In the evening, we take a sundowner and some Portuguese Tapas on the roof terrace of the Hotel “Memmo Alfama” with a stunning view over parts of Lisbon and the Tejo river.

6 weeks “on the road” take effect

Jan needs a haircut! “Facto Hair” is a really stylish hair saloon in the district Bairro Alto and the stylist André gives Jan a cut that fits to his already imposing moustache. We get some tips to take a short ferry-ride across the river Tejo to have some authentic fish-dishes in the city quarter “Cacilhas”.

In the early evening, we go after Fabio’s invitation and watch the Portugal vs. Island game in the small streets of Alfama with his friends and family. The game ends 1:1 and on the way home, we take a final drink at the bar “Ao Pé da Sé” in Alfama – on the men’s toilette, you will feel like Superman (see photo). As with many people in Lisbon, we have a nice conversation with the bartender Duarte – also a surfer, so we arrange to meet for surfing around his hometown Cascais, our next destination.

After exploring Lisbon the next day, we have a drink on the roof terrace of the “Bairro Alto Hotel” – a chilled Gin & Tonic and a view over the roofs of the city while the sun sets in the distance, is just the perfect way to end the day and our stay in Lisbon.

Here some additional tips for restaurants in Lisbon:

  • Manteigaria – Fabrica de Pastéis de Nata: the famous Pastéis de Nata are just the best and are served still warm (!) if you enjoy them in the shop
  • Cervejaria O Zapata: a small authentic restaurant with great Portuguese cuisine, served with fluorescent lights, TV and Portuguese tiles on the wall
  • Jardim da Cerejas: Indian restaurant with tasty vegan dishes – all you can eat lunch menu for unbeatable EUR 7,50 per person
  • Cervejaria Ramiro: great for all seafood lovers – this place serves seafood in the finest quality. You should consider reserving a table if you don’t want to wait in long lines for lunch or dinner
  • Espumantaria: a small selection with fresh Mediterranean dishes. And a small bar at the entrance to have an aperitif or drinks after dinner
  • Time Out Mercado da Ribeira: Old market hall with a large variety of food in all directions and some restaurants to have lunch or dinner
  • Ao Pé da Sé: A small cozy restaurant and bar in Alfama that serves great cocktails – you will find Superman in the men’s toilette

→ Check out our next stop: Cascais

→ Check out our next stop: Cascais

Barcelona | Spain

THE CITY THAT SIMPLY HAS EVERYTHING TO OFFER

→ Art, culture, history, design, architecture, restaurants, bars, clubs… Barcelona has something to offer for any type of visitor.

We arrive in the evening and stay at the boutique hotel “H10 Cubik” – a pretty new and very stylish hotel in central location. The roof terrace with a pool, is the perfect place to relax in quiet atmosphere, as opposed to the vibrant city right outside the hotel – the view over Barcelona is amazing.

The next morning, we walk through the old-town of our favorite district “El Born”. There are numerous boutiques, galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars in the very old and small alleys and streets – a perfect place for a shopping-spree. I meet Sonia, the owner of the small boutique “Conpasion” and I find out that she loves surfing as much as we do. The chemistry between us is perfect and we spend a lot of time speaking about the Spanish way of living, the background of the Catalan independency-move and, of course, surfing.

We meet our local friend David in the evening for a drink and dinner in the city district “Gracia”, which is a bit less touristy with many bars and restaurants – a perfect place to go out in the evening. After a few drinks at the cocktail bar “Dos Rombos”, we have dinner that the restaurant “Taverna El Glop”, where they serve great traditional Catalan cuisine – this is where the locals go.

Sightseeing is mandatory

The next day we do some classic sightseeing including the hotspots “Sagrada Famila” and “Parque Güell”. Unfortunately, groups of tourists and long lines are inevitable, but the stunning buildings and architecture by Gaudi compensate for the exhausting tourist-program. In the evening, we get some real authentic tapas in the tapas bar “El Xampanyet” in El Born. We end the day with a drink on the roof terrace of our hotel.

After some exciting and inspiring days in Barcelona, we need a souvenir as a memory of an amazing time in a great city. Before we continue our travels, we have another walk through El Born and find the small gallery “Generos de Punta”. The artist Gaston Liberto is originally from Argentina, but has been living and working in Barcelona for many years now. His illustrations are inspired by the people and life in Barcelona and we find the perfect souvenir.

→ Check out our next stop: Andalusia

→ Check out our next stop: Andalusia

Uzès – Provence | France

VILLAGE OF THE HERBS

→ Next stop South of France! After driving several hours through Switzerland and France, we go to a place that we’ve been before – Uzès in middle of Provence. It is the city of herbs with fascinating charm and wonderful hospitality. The historic buildings and walls from past centuries, give the city a mystical feeling and we discover new things in the numerous winding streets and alleys. We stay the night at the relatively new and cozy Boutique „Hotel Entraigues”, within a nicely restructured historic building. The hotel restaurant specializes in local cuisine with regional organic products – too bad we missed eating there, unfortunately, it is closed on Wednesdays (other guests say it is “excellent”). We decide to have a snack at “Les Terriers“, a small typical French Bistro in the center of town right at Place aux Herbes (plaza of the herbs) – this place serves small plates and sells items by providers and farmers from the region. We save some space for dessert and go straight across the plaza to “La Fabrique Giverée – Artiste Glacier“. They produce their own ice cream with own creations and products from the region – you need to try their salted caramel flavor.

A small highlight is the small and nondescript restaurant “Piano, Piano” at the edge of the town center. The friendly owners and staff offer a changing daily menus and the food is just great – we love the main course fresh seared tuna with vegetables and potato puree.

The next days we stay at the really cozy hotel “La Buissonniere” on the picturesque countryside about 15 minutes outside of Uzès. The beautiful estate has a large garden with plants from the region like lavender and olive trees. The friendly German couple Natascha and Jörg and their super speedy turtle “Rakete” (Rocket) realized a small dream by taking over this place a few years ago. As a special event, they invite their friends and guests every year to participate at their annual olive harvest (by hand!), where each guests receives a bottle of freshly pressed olive oil. The evenings at La Buissionnaire are really romantic: We enjoy amazing dinners, personally cooked by Natascha, on the patio of the hotel surrounded antique buildings and with a view on the lovely garden. We will certainly come back.

→ Check out our next stop: Saint-Tropez

→ Check out our next stop: Saint-Tropez