Updated: Jun 2, 2019
As I get into arrivals at Aeroporto de Lisboa, Portugal, a southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain, I instantly feel 'that' rush like something magical is about to happen to me. I may not speak the language, but that does not take away from what I am about to experience in this vibrant city. As I go through immigration, I salute the immigration officer with a little hint of confidence, and a splash of excitement.
Waking up the morning after the night before as I pull open my curtain to let in the day light and inhale, never felt so vibrant...... and even though I did not see a sparrow, what colourful vibrance that set the notes higher for the rest of my days.
The understatedly cool and trendy district of Lisbon's Cais de Sodré was certainly my destiny this time around. From the buildings, to the historic streets, the vibrant graffiti-trams, the romantic lovers holding hands savouring every second they had left, the little boutique restaurants all along the streets, the late-night kiosks that had anything and everything I needed after midnight, the ever-buzzing shopping strip and the pier by the sea that got the best of me.
What is there not to like about this city?
The once neglected Cais do Sodré area is one of my favourite places in Lisboa right by the waterfront, blogging or dreaming with a glass or vinho as I watch the breath-taking sunsets going down easy like Sunday evenings.
"My soul smiles when I think of every experience planned or unplanned."
On the following day, my girl Francesca invited me to perform at an event in Cascais which was my opportunity to jump onto the band wagon, let my hair down and get ready for another fabulous experience in another city just about an hour drive from Lisbon.
Cascais's history as a cosmopolitan haven for the rich and famous originates in the 1870s, when King Luís I of Portugal and the Portuguese royal family made the seaside town their summer residence, thus attracting members of the Portuguese aristocracy, who established a summer community there. We took time out to go and be a part of a gala event where we got to strut our gowns and heels on the red carpet at the infamous Casino Estoril.
Besides my fascination around these trams with the street art that extends through, did you know the first Lisbon tram tracks were laid in 1873 and the early trams used horse pulled carriages. The tram lines became electric in 1901 and this gave rise to the Portuguese name 'Carro e létrico' (carriage with electricity), which over time became Eléctrico.
Liz Ogumbo Wines - Wine-tasting
Despite the last-minute introduction to one of the cool hidden gems in Lisboa, I got to pull in some of my favourite people in in the city including Francesca Marzilli Batista, Mario Batista, Victor Hugo, Rosleyn Silva, Katia Nunes, Rui Barreto, Cibele Ossemane & Isabel Descnacimiento to join me for my wine-tasting. It was nothing but bliss; a beautiful intimate experience in the heart of the city with great #TLC from Café Dede’s owner, Rhi who took good care of us and prepared great tapas that paired well with the wine.
Portugal’s location on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced many aspects of its culture: salt cod and grilled sardines are national dishes, the Algarve's beaches are a major destination and much of the nation’s architecture dates to the 1500s–1800s, when Portugal had a powerful maritime empire. The best part of visiting this country is the happy hormones transcending across the city because everybody’s smiling.