In Portugal: Lisbon

I have come to realise that I am not a massive fan of cities, I prefer places with lots of nature. I arrived in Lisbon and although it still has the elements I don’t like, it has a beauty that is so unique. Looking back at my photos there is so much this city has to offer, I only saw a small amount but it’s beautiful.

Comércio Plaza

My hotel was close to Comércio Plaza, this open square flanked by yellow buildings that were once the parliament buildings but now is surrounded by restaurants and bars. It’s the prime meeting place for the locals and a great place for tourists to take pictures and do a walking tour. It’s also on the river so it’s a great spot to sit down and take in the sun or have a snack.

Santa Justa Lift

I do things so you don’t have to! Going up in the lift is a waste of time, don’t bother. The queues start really early so if you want to go up in the lift, be there when it opens. The queue organiser doesn’t speak english so if he points randomly and you don’t understand, its fine, tetchy old women will sass you so you don’t skip the line *eyeroll* You can walk up to a viewing platform from the back of the lift and then pay the extra €1.50 to go up to the top. Going on the lift is a waste of time.

Time Out Market

Time Out Market is a perfect use of space and I think every city needs one. One side is a fresh food market and the other side is lots of different food kiosks. There is lots of different options but I knew I wanted croquettes and Pastéis de Nata. You could probably come here everyday of your holiday and still not eat everything. I really recommend Manteigaria custard tarts. There is a battle of the best tart between Balem and Manteigaria and I think Manteigaria is my favourite.

Castelo de São Jorge

The way up to George’s Castle is beautiful, small streets, lots of beautiful doors and tiles. A photographers dream! Entry into the castle is €8.50 but get all the information you need before you go in because there isn’t any signage inside.

I really liked this site, it’s fun to walk the walls and sit underneath the trees. The views from the top are beautiful, you can see lots of Lisbon attractions from up here and the expanse of the city.

Belém

Belem was a quick trip for the tower and the custard tarts. Pastéis de Belém is chaotic! I decided to get them to go so I queued for a short time and paid for my custard tarts and you stand with a crowd and the servers will just swipe your receipt and plonk your bags on the counter. I then sat looking at the tower and ate a custard tart. It was lovely!

Where I Stayed

TURIM Terreiro do Paço Hotel

This hotel is lovely, it’s comfortable, it’s clean and everything you need in a hotel. I didn’t opt for breakfast but I have one complaint. The tv is in a frame in the wall which means the speakers are incased and the sound is muffled so if your neighbour is watching TV they will have it up really loud and will be reverberating into your room. So be warned!PhoebeGill171005995

I really enjoyed my stay in Lisbon but to be honest I preferred Sintra. Check out my post on Sintra here. 

Happy travels!

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In Riga: Old Town

Old town is full of little streets to wander around and I highly recommend you take the time to explore. I was walking around on an overcast St Patricks day and it was quiet and just want I needed. I loved the architecture of the Old Town, medieval buildings with brightly coloured restaurants and shops. PhoebeGill170317116There are some incredible points of interest like the House of the Blackheads. This incredible red brick gothic structure is where you can get walking tours of Old Town. It has such great detail you can’t miss! PhoebeGill170318184Riga Castle is the official residence of the president, it has been rebuilt many times over the years, old structures and new bits added on gives this building a unique look, with six towers, all different colours and sizes. It is closed to the public due to a fire and will reopen in 2018. PhoebeGill170318143Old Town is small but its is completely charming, nothing is symetrical and there are so many little streets with charming spots. There are also big open squares where events are held and markets are set up. When I was walking around there was a brass band playing to no one, soft music reverberated in the square and it was lovely.PhoebeGill170318179There is one thing in European old towns that I love and that is making three building of similar ilk siblings. I have seen a few three brother buildings over Europe and I love finding them. These brothers are awkwardly placed down a small street.

Take the time. Take a walking tour. Enjoy!

Happy Travels!

In Stockholm: Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården is a really pretty park in central Stockholm. It’s a beautiful tree lined strip with seating, a pretty green areas and fountains. This is a busy area with couples, groups of friends, lots of dog walkers and is generally filled with mirth! PhoebeGill160714671Take note during the summer from April 23rd to August 31st there is a military foot parade that happens every day, they walk from the Army museum and will pass the Kungsträdgården at around 12pm. It’s similar to the changing of the guards in London. It is a great thing to see. In other months of the year it only happens on specific days so check before you go to Stockholm or just be surprised like I was.  PhoebeGill160714208There is a Tbana stop just beside this area and the tram lines are at the top of the park so it’s really easy to get to. It has lots of outdoor eating and cafes so it’s a perfect place to stop at. There is also a stage area where outdoor concerts are held in Summer and in Winter there is an ice rink.

You definitely have to check it out when you go to Stockholm. It was such a pretty area to relax and take in the sunshine!

Happy Travels!

In Stockholm: Hop On Hop Off Tours

I got a Stockholm pass in a goodie bag from TBex, thanks TBex,  I looked up what it can do and I was really pleasantly surprised. Amongst a lot of other things, you are able to do unlimited Hop On Hop Off Tours, both bus and boat. So I took full advantage. PhoebeGill160714036Over my three day stay I took 3 bus tours and 2 boats. (Be careful though, Stockholm VIP pass only lasts for two days) The bus is great, it has a removable roof because of the tram lines above but it means that if it rains you aren’t getting soaked. It has the audio tour and free headphones so you will be able to learn about the city. I have to say though, every time I sat at the window I would have someone reach over me and touch my knee to get to the audio box. I would say to them do you want me to do it but they just ignored me and reached over. Ugh it makes me shiver just thinking about it. Don’t touch people you don’t know. PhoebeGill160714668I really recommend it though. You get to go to districts that you wouldn’t normally go to and it gives you lots of information. I wouldn’t know the term brackish water if I didn’t take the bus! (It is said a lot on the tours) The views from the bus are gorgeous, Stockholm is so beautiful and this tour gives you such a nice vantage point! PhoebeGill160714340I really think everyone should see Stockholm by boat, any city by the water just has such a gorgeous feel to it. You would see couples on little motor boats, tour boats, sail boats, big ships. Seeing Stockholm by water gives you a different view of the city and gives you more information the bus doesn’t give. It was really nice being a tourist for a change. Usually I get out of cities to explore but it was a lot of fun to just relax and take my time to see Stockholm properly. PhoebeGill160716554The boat stops in some great areas like The Vasa museum, The Royal Palace and other wonderful areas you have to explore. I fell in love with the buildings by the water and how the city wasn’t impacted with modern sky scrapers.  PhoebeGill160716276With the Stockholm Pass you are permitted to go on the green busses and boats. If you don’t have the pass then you can buy a one (€32) or two (€37) day bus ticket. You can also get a bus, boat combo ticket, one day (€42) and two day (€48). If you want more information check it out herePhoebeGill160716106

Do you do hop on hop off tours when you travel? Which one was your favourite?

Happy Travels!

In Stockholm: Staying in Kungsholman

Deciding where to stay in Stockholm was based on two things, was it cheaper than others and is it easy to get into the centre of Stockholm. I can definitely say I choose the right place! Let me explain.

This area is really really pretty and it’s where you can get a great view of the Karlberg Palace. Which is the home of the Military Academy. With all of the boats docked on the jettys it just makes for the most lovely picture. Take note, you might feel terribly unfit in this area! PhoebeGill160714403There is a great walkway that runs all along the water and it is busy with people running, walking and cycling. It’s a really nice walk that finishes just outside the main shopping district of Stockholm. PhoebeGill160714633-1The hotel I stayed at was the Connect City Hotel and I was really pleasantly surprised with my stay. It is so close to the Fridhemsplan T-Bana station. I got a single room with no windows for 4 nights for €228. I thought I was going into a cell but I was very happy. Stockholm gets hot in the Summer so I was worried that I would be sweltering but the fact there isn’t a window, means that it doesn’t get hot or cold. The duvet was really comfortable. The bed is small so tall people might find it difficult.PhoebeGill160713041I only had one problem with the hotel. At breakfast there is a tap that dispensed juice and as it was hot weather, there were a swarm of fruit flies, it wasn’t great. Other than that it was a great stay in a lovely area. I definitely recommend a stay here and I would stay here again.

Happy Travels!

 

In Dublin: Blas Cafe

Have a fact before we start the post. A Blaa is a flowery roll/bap from county Waterford in Ireland. It is usually had a breakfast time with your usual fry. Typically I would have one if I was down for a family funeral. They are a simple yet glorious thing.

When I heard that we would be having our InstaMeet here is was immediately intrigued and excited to try somewhere new. Bla’s Cafe is located  on King’s Inn Street, at the side of Cineworld cinema off Parnell Street. It has a very independent feel about it, it’s the perfect location for Sunday brunch. PhoebeGill160709327So as my control meal I always choose the eggs Benedict, unfortunately it was way too hot to test their coffee but the eggs Benedict was perfect. The eggs were runny, the ham was delicious, there was just enough sauce, which is crucial to the dish and there were roast potatoes that went perfectly with it. They also provide free water which is alway a plus. Check out their menu here. PhoebeGill160709307Blas is located in The Chocolate Factory, which is a space for people to sell their creations, there is jewelry, cakes, art work, crafts and other lovely things. It’s a real collective shared space and has such a nice feel to it. I definitely recommend you check this place out and it is so close to the cinema you could grab brunch and a movie to make the perfect weekend outing. PhoebeGill160709342A big thanks to Ramona for making this wonderful gathering happen. Check out her photos they are amazing! 

Happy Travels!