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.


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!

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 Riga: Central

To me Riga was split into three sections. Central was the most interesting to me, it had pretty parks, interesting musuems and a more gritty atmosphere. The most important thing in this area is the freedom monument. Learning Latvia’s history is sad and tough but it is really important to understand the country.PhoebeGill170317046The monument is in between a very lovely park which is nice to stroll through. It almost comforts the history to be sandwiched by nature. Another important place you need to go is the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. Looking at history is very important but this museum is a lot easier to go through than other museums out there. PhoebeGill170317055There are many buildings that command your attention like the Russian Orthodox church. There is a nativity scene inside but there is a dress code. Women are expected to cover their head and shorts aren’t permitted. PhoebeGill170317047One museum I really enjoyed was the modern art museum, there is great painting from historical periods of time. It was really interesting to read the history of Latvia and then to see it expressed through art.

In the basement, there is modern day art after a good long break from modern art it was nice to see it on my terms. I really recommend this museum.  PhoebeGill170318230Behind the parks and museums is the local shopping area of Riga, charity shops, places to eat, it’s more residential than the area just outside old town. Something I loved about this area was the more gritty elements than the other areas. PhoebeGill170317064Whole buildings would be missing from the street, paint was peeling, it was nice to be somewhere that wasn’t just building apartment blocks all over a city. My favourite has to be this tictac ad, you never see ads like this anymore and I just love it. PhoebeGill170317067I liked walking around this area, there are lots of places to eat like Big Bad Bagels and Crazy Donuts. Walk around, explore and have a good time not being bombarded with modern architecture.

Happy Travels!

In Kyoto: Arashiyama

You get out of the pretty Arashiyama train station and start walking. This Ghibli like area is beautiful, small roads and neighbourhoods that reflects the serene nature I was about to come upon. The sun was shining, it was warm and I was here to see the bamboo forest.

I didn’t want to take the path everyone was going because when you join a heard you can miss things. I decided to go down a small path and it’s as if this path had it’s own micro climate. It was humid and smelt like a rainforest, it was so peaceful and calm. The Katsura river is still except the boats and ducks that are cutting through the water. Along the bank of the river people are making food to sell, I stood and watched the way they use what’s around them, a small stream of water from the top of the mountain is filtered down to their fish tanks, keeping their fish alive and water in their sinks. It was wonderful.  PhoebeGill161026004I sat here and ate my breakfast and watched the boats go buy. It’s times like these that it’s great to get lost and go the wrong way because what you can find is wonderful.

I then realised that if I was to ever make the Bamboo forest I needed to go the right way. This means going back along the pretty river and over the Togetsukyō Bridge. This beautiful structure gets you across the river, has the most stunning views and was nicknamed the Moon Crossing Bridge. It’s all very romantic and totally deserved. PhoebeGill161026080When you get to the main area of Arasiyama it becomes a lot more busy. There are lots of tourist nicknacks, restaurants and other wonderful finds that you just have to explore for yourself. There are lots of signs alerting you on where to go but what I have found is that if you follow where most of the people are going, they will bring you to the main tourist spot. PhoebeGill161026010After I went to the bamboo forest, it was the middle of the day and the sun was getting hot, I walked over the bridge to find people painting by the water. I stopped and watched this older gentleman watercolour the scene. Arashiyama is a place where I felt like I fit, it felt easy and familiar but at the same time so new and exciting.

Happy Travels!



In Kyoto: Shopping Arcades and Markets

I didn’t do too much research into the city of Kyoto before I left so I decided to walk and explore. I saw an opening with shops and went in and what I found was magic! One thing I loved about Japan was the fashion, people dress incredibly well, they have great neutral clothes with great fabric and cuts and I wanted everything if I could actually fit/afford them. (Japanese clothes run small for obvious reasons)

Teramachi and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcades

There are two covered shopping arcades that run parallel to each other and they have restaurants, shops with clothes, art, furniture, everything you need to window shop and buy everything you need or want. The area also looks great! There are really beautiful shop fronts and little details that looks beautiful.phoebegill161025069phoebegill161025079phoebegill161025086

Nishiki Market

This narrow food market is incredible, there isn’t any room to move around, there are so many things to look at, smell and all of it looks so fresh! For any foodie, you have to have a look. Even me, the girl who grabs a handful of nuts once in a while when travelling, thought everything looked amazing!phoebegill161025093phoebegill161025094phoebegill161025099

I have been looking into more of the city and I’ve found even more places to see so I will just have to wait till next year to see them.

Happy Travels!