Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lisbon/Barcelona - Days 4, (5), and 6

Continuing our journey with the last day in Lisbon and onto Barcelona.  Despite the amount of walking and climbing we did the day before in Sintra, we wanted to get up for a run in the morning.  It was chilly starting out but we warmed up and the sun was glorious.  It was a Monday morning so we were out among the commuters off to work.  We shared Dave's new Airpods (wireless headphones) so that worked well.

A beautiful snap of our apartment in the morning light. 

We went back to the Copenhagen Coffee Lab for breakfast and caught another iconic trolley photo on the way.

Another cardamom bun for me and overnight oats.  Dave had a yoghurt parfait and cinnamon bun.

Fruit trees grow all over town; we wondered if the tree belonged to someone or if anyone could just go and pick a piece.

Usually the hop on hop off bus tickets last for 24 hours, but they had a promotion for 48 hours and we were able to hop on the bus again on Monday morning (and Michael Buble was still with us!).  This time we did the Blue Route that took us out to more modern parts of the city including the site of the 1998 World Expo.  If we had more time we definitely would have spent a day out here as there were lots to see and a big shopping mall as well. 

This building was designed to look like a cruise ship, it's hard to see from the photos, but it did!

We circled around and got off the bus at the top of the Parque Eduardo VII. 

Another beautiful sunny day walking on the cobblestones.

Placa Marques de Pombres in the background, at the bottom of the Parque.

We walked down the Av. de Liberdade and made our way back to the street where we ate on the first night.  We had to climb a few flights of stairs again to get there. 

This time we ate at Coyo Taco; the service was impeccable and we sampled three different types of tacos and some warm churros.


I wanted to stop into the Church of São Roque and it was on the way home.  It is very old and survived the earthquake in 1755 and has multiple Baroque chapels (also free to visit).

Then we wandered home through some different streets and picked up a couple of souvenirs.  We went to back to our apartment to pack, nap, and read (or watch Netflix for Dave). Then we headed out for our last night.  The night started out well.  We went back to Tabuas, the wine bar we had visited on our first night, had the meat and cheese plate this time (and more vinho verde for me), and talked about where we would like to go on our next holiday. 

And then we met these little guys...sardines.  We went up to a restaurant recommended by our host for being non-touristy but with a great view, Case do Leão near the Castelo de S. Jorge.  We weren't that hungry after our meat and cheese but decided we couldn't go home early on our last night so we went up to the restaurant and ordered just a couple of appetizers.  One was a shrimp dish that was very good and the other was a traditional dish of these sardines and some tempura green beans. Our server assured us that we just eat the sardines whole - bones, head and all.  We both managed to eat two but couldn't do a third.  

View form our restaurant before heading home for the night. 

The next morning, however, we both woke up not feeling great, but got packed up and went to the airport to catch our flight to Barcelona for the second leg of our trip.  We were struggling with upset stomachs, very suspicious of those sardines.  I had a bagel at the airport Starbucks and was feeling okay, but not great, but Dave was not doing as well.  After we got to Barcelona and our hotel (Hotel Arts) we both went to bed.  I got up in the early evening to attend Dave's company's welcome reception but he stayed in bed.  Fortunately I had already met a few of his colleagues so it was easy to go down and meet them.  I still wasn't feel great myself but had a small plate of food - I was sad to miss out on the iberian jamon and taco bar though.

So anyway day 5 of our trip was fairly low-key and no photos were taken of our sad states.  

A note about this part of the trip - Dave's company rewards its top performers each year with a special trip to a very nice hotel.  This was his first year to earn the trip with this company.  There are dinners on most of the nights, organized tours to choose from on two of the days, and gifts left for us in our room each night.  We were treated very well and it was a real treat to spend this time together.  We just decided to add Lisbon onto the front of the trip so we would be away for a whole week rather than just four days. 

The next morning we were both feeling better.  We went down to breakfast and then met up with some other people for a market tour and cooking class.  

We didn't know too much about this event but were pleasantly surprised it was taking place in our favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona of El Born where we stayed in 2015.  We took a brief bus ride to the Santa Caterina Market where we were introduced to our two chefs for the day.

Then we went to a few different stalls to learn about the local food and pick up the ingredients we would be using at our cooking class.

Twenty varieties of local tomatoes.

Spanish strawberries are legit.

I got a berry juice for some extra energy after being unwell the day before (and to sample some of those bright strawberries seen above).

Then we walked through the streets to our class. 

It was held at the Born to Cook school.  We had a very good experience here. I don't know what they offer for classes but if you want to do a cooking class, this was a great one. 

First we got a glass of wine and did some sampling of the iberian jamon, manchego cheese, and award winning olive oils (and wine of course), while they got set up.

Our stations. 

We were making three types of paella - seafood, sausage and mushroom, and vegetarian.  Our group was in charge of the seafood one.  We chopped the onions, garlic and peppers, grated the tomatoes, and then started cooking. 

Our chef showing us the squid - if you cook squid for five minutes it is fine, if you cook it longer than that it gets rubbery but if you cook it for an hour, it will get tender again.  We would be cooking ours for about an hour.  

At the end, the rest of the seafood was placed carefully and artistically on top.

The sausage and mushroom one.

And the veggie one.

Say "Paella!"

Ready to eat

Then we all dug in.

Dessert was Catalan cream with a brûlée on top.

We had so much fun and really enjoyed the food.  We had the option to walk back to the hotel rather than taking the bus so we did that. 

Nap time when we got back and then we got dressed up for the awards banquet in the hotel ballroom.   This is a terrible picture but this performer was walking around the reception dressed as a Gaudí building/art.

Team Canada - they had a great year this year. 

A note about this picture and the other group photo at the cooking class - we got in the habit of one person taking the photo and then air dropping it to everyone's iPhones.  It worked out so well so remember that next time you're with a big group rather than having the photographer take a bunch of photos using different phones. 

See Days 1 to 2 here
and Day 3 here

Tomorrow we finish it all off. 


  1. I dont use airdrop enough. Whag a wonderful trip you had! Sooooo much doing, seeing and eating 😀😀

  2. Okay all that food is making me HUNGRY! I should probably go cook supper. And I'm sorry you were both sick on one day -- that sucks :(