We’d been looking forward to Memorial Day weekend for a few months. Back in January we signed up for our first half marathon in Luxembourg and had been diligently (somewhat) training. We then planned to fly out Sunday morning to Lisbon and spend a couple days exploring a bit of Portugal. Friday night we went to one of our favorite Italian restaurants in town that’s run by a friendly polish woman. We loaded up on carbs and went to bed ready to dominate the race the following day.
We woke up at 6:30 and headed to the airport. We were running a bit behind as we had to drop Lucy off at the petsitter and it took longer than expected. We got through security relatively quickly but when my bag got selected for a search, I sent Cole ahead to go to the gate to get our seats (as we were flying standby). I headed to the gate a few minutes later when Cole called me. Turns out that after he left security he did a quick check to make sure he had his phone and wallet, but his wallet was gone. Convinced that it was somehow stuck on the conveyor at security he went back to have the agents look around. He told me to head to the gate as he thought it would just take a minute and he’d be on his way. I got our boarding passes and called him hoping his wallet was found and he was on his way. Unfortunately, it was exactly the opposite, he said that they didn’t find the wallet anywhere around security and we’re now checking the security cameras to see if they could find out if someone took it. Unfortunately our flight was taking off in 20 minutes and we decided we couldn’t just leave without knowing what happened to his wallet and trying to recover it. Once we got the police involved they were able to view the security cameras around the security area. It turned out that Cole’s wallet fell out of his workout pants right after he left security. Almost immediately a young man (with some of his friends) picked it up and headed off in a direction out of the direction of cameras. Cole literally passed right by this guy since he had quickly realized he didn’t have his wallet. The police weren’t very hopeful that this man would turn in the wallet, but we asked around at every information desk and nearby stores to see if he would end up being a Good Samaritan and turn it in. After 3 long hours asking around, literally digging through trash cans (in case they trashed the wallet after taking the cash), we gave up and headed to the train station to book the only 6.5 hour train that would arrive in Luxembourg before the start of the race. Our bad luck continued as the train ended up being 20 minutes late arriving into Amsterdam and would have caused us to miss the only connection of the day heading to Luxembourg. Even if we had made it, we would have missed the chance to pick up our numbers for the race and the lady that I called at the marathons office said they most likely wouldn’t let us participate in the half marathon without our numbers. Unfortunately, renting a car would have cost almost $500 so that was out of the question.
We made the difficult decision that all signs were telling us not to go to Luxembourg that day. Instead, we contemplated just spending the weekend at home or tying to fly into Lisbon earlier than originally planned. As we looked to see what other flight options were, there happened to be a flight leaving in 45 minutes so we quickly decided that was the best option and ran to check in for the flight.
Almost all the hotels in Lisbon were sold out that night, but I found a beautiful Intercontinental in a nearby seaside resort area called Estoril. We booked the hotel once we landed in Lisbon and headed over. It was late afternoon by the time we checked in at the hotel and we spent the next hour calling all of our credit card companies and banks to cancel all of Cole’s cards. Once that was done, Cole convinced me that we could run our own version of a race in Portugal. I was exhausted so the first 5k was miserable but Cole pushed me to keep going and I finally hit my stride. I loved the scenic views – the beautiful water, rocky cliffs and quaint towns that we ran through inspired us to keep going. While we didn’t quite manage a half marathon (I blame those damn hills) we ran 10 miles and felt like we accomplished enough for the day.
After the run, we enjoyed the hotel’s spa and then walked into the town of Caiscais for an amazing Italian dinner.
The next day we woke up early and packed for Lisbon. As we were getting ready, Cole got an email from someone at his company that said they had his wallet!!! The guy who picked it up must have saw Cole’s company ID and decided to turn it into the airline’s customer service desk at the airport. While all of his credit cards were already cancelled, this meant he still had his Dutch residency card and work IDs, which would have cost hundreds of dollars to replace! We were ecstatic and headed into Lisbon to celebrate!
We checked into our hotel and immediately headed into town. We walked along the Avenida Alvares Cabral and through the historic center of Lisbon.
Our first stop was to check out the Mercado de Ribeira, a huge market with over 30 food stalls. It was packed with locals and tourists and we enjoyed some delicious food with some sangria and beer. We then headed over to Belem to check out some of the sights and enjoyed a beautiful view of the bridge.
Afterwards, we enjoyed some more sangria and beer right on the water. We then headed to ride on the historic 28 tram that takes you up the steep hills of the city to a beautiful lookout. The views from the top were incredible as you could see the entire city of Lisbon stretching out in front of you.
We then went for an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Taqueria Pistola y Corazon, that did not disappoint. I had one of the best cocktails ever – a watermelon tequila drink – and we enjoyed some authentic Mexican food. We then headed to Barrio Alto, a neighborhood that comes alive at night. We found a bar, Alface Hall, that has live music most nights (ironically playing American songs that evening). We spent a few hours enjoying good music and drinks.
We woke up Monday morning prepared to grab an early brunch before heading to the airport. But our airline text us that our flight was 2 hours delayed and we celebrated having a couple more hours in town. We had a delicious brunch at Tartine and then went to Manteigaria, a patisserie famous for the best “natas” in Lisbon, a custard pastry that’s a local delicacy in Portugal. After we stuffed our faces once more, we trekked the hills up to Amalfa to see the Jorge Luis castle. We walked around the charming neighborhood, discovered another lookout, and then decided to grab some drinks and a snack nearby at Chapitos, which is known for its amazing views and good food.
I’ve started using Four Square to create bucket lists for each of the cities we travel to – it’s a great way to find the best best restaurants/things to do (all are ranked/reviewed), save them in a list, and then when you travel you can see everything on a map and what’s near you. I highly recommend it for anyone preparing for a trip!
We loved our time in Lisbon – the weather was fantastic and the city was so beautiful with its cobblestones streets and stunning seaside views. We can’t wait to visit Portugal again – maybe this time heading north to Porto or south to Faro or Lagos.