Aug 2, 2018
PERSONAL POST ALERT! I rarely ever share personal things on my website, but many of you followed my Instagram stories last month when I was in Portugal, sooooo…..
As someone who has always enjoyed travel, I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was to plan my and my husband’s European vacay in celebration of our three year anniversary this past July. I had been essentially begging him since before we got married for a trip like this, so when we were finally able to book our flights, I had to use everything within me not to bite my pillows in excitement. It had been too long! My last overseas trip (I don’t count the Caribbean) had been in 2014 to Iceland. Before that, I had literally been all over the place with an insatiable need to travel, as is typical with 20somethings.
Shortly after I got the flight booking go ahead, hotels were booked, and Chris started planning the itinerary. Me? When it comes to travel, I’m not much of a planner- I like to have a general idea of what to do, but I like to fly by the seat of my pants too.
But something I DID start planning for was a travel camera. Of course, I have bunches of cameras at home that I use to shoot weddings (obviously), but what I’ve noticed in the past about traveling with them is that they’re big and bulky and hella annoying to travel around with, AND also I’m not sure I like the idea anymore of traveling with my work horses so to speak. If I drop it in water while on vacation (it’s happened), then I’ve really put myself in a bind. So I set out in search for a compact camera that packed a big photo quality punch. After a bunch of research, recommendations and reviews, I finally decided on Fujifilm’s x100f. Not only had I been hearing good things about the Fuji cameras in the wedding world in the last few years, I was intrigued to try out a mirror-less system from a company unfamiliar to me. Fuji don’t take pitchas like Canon. 😉 When I got the camera in the mail, I was surprised to see how tiny it was even in my hands, and I was eager to start my trip and try it out.
Fast forward to an overnight flight to Lisbon, a really long car rental line because the computer servers were down, maybe an argument or two due to a lack of sleep, and a three hour drive up north, we started our Portuguese adventure in:
This city, the second largest in Portugal after Lisbon, was super amazing. Not only was it really European, but the whole vibe of the city was definitely our pace, with the “drink all the wine, eat all the food and just stroll” vibe it had. Apparently this city is called the “dark city” in comparison with Lisbon which is supposedly the “light city”, but since I had not actually been in the city of Lisbon yet at this point, I really didn’t have a point of reference. Now in hindsight, though, I can definitely see what they mean.
Chris and I spent our time walking around drinking tawny port everywhere and having a grand old time. Port comes from this area- the Douro Valley- so you can find it just about anywhere.
From Porto, we made our way down towards Lisbon since that was where our next hotel was at, but we did a few-hours-long stop in:
We really didn’t plan for this stop until the morning we were driving down and we figured we would stop in for lunch and then keep going on our merry way south. Not only was this town super quaint and picturesque with all of its white buildings and lush greenery, but it was lined by a castle wall that you could see from the highway. I think I had initially imagined all of Portugal to look like this, so I’m glad I got to at least experience it in one town. There was apparently a Renaissance Fair going on when we arrived too.
My only regret was not having enough time in this amazing little spot, but we did have a fantastic lunch. This is also where we discovered that when we said “yes” to any waiter at any restaurant offering to bring bread, we would be charged for it. 😀
After Óbidos came:
My feelings are torn about Lisbon. We stayed for three nights and while we enjoyed it and had a good time, it was probably the city/town we liked least in all of Portugal. Both Chris and I felt like it had a younger, faster vibe and there were just too many people and too many things going on. Plus all of the San Francisco-esque hills really took a toll on our bodies…and I’m in shape! And it was still rough! But we did eat a gazillion pasteis de nata, and learned that gin and tonics are a ‘thing’ paired with certain meals on certain menus, kind of like the way we do it in the USA with wine pairings.
Also while in Lisbon, we took a day or two to head over to Sintra to visit Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors so basically any photo you see in this next gallery is half Lisbon half Sintra. Yes, there were a lot of tourists in the photo, but I don’t know- I kinda like it.
Then finally we got to the end of our trip with a relaxed last few days in:
We really loved this town for it’s locals-only-vacation vibe and beautiful water views. I won’t bore you with too many descriptions of what we did and let the remaining photos do the talking, but I do feel the need to add in here that at this point I really wasn’t carrying the camera with me anymore or taking as many photos, especially in the TOWN of Cascais as I only have iPhone photos of when we walked around there. Despite the Fujifilm x100f being amazing and lightweight (the autofocus is a smidge sensitive too), I still found it more of a nuisance to carry around. I can’t help but think to apply Maria Montessori’s “inner need” theory here and say that my “inner need”- my desire to photograph people and places and things- has been left behind with my 20s. I do LOVE me some wedding photography, but besides that, I basically never feel the urge to pick up a camera and photograph anything anymore. My memory is good enough. 😉
THE FINAL CALL:
Overall, Portugal gets an 8/9 out of 10 stars from me! (Those 10s are reserved for places with fantastic landscapes [Alaska/Iceland] or cultures so vastly different [Japan]). And honestly, the more countries I visit, the more I realize they all kind of look the same. But yeah. I would definitely go back to Portugal any day. 😀
That’s all for now, folks! If you made it to the bottom…HOLLAAAAAAA!!!!