Portugal has always been high on my list of travel destinations, and a little over a year ago Drew and I had the pleasure of visiting during our last vacation. We started in Amsterdam where we had the gift of visiting the Keukenhof tulip gardens (they are only open a few weeks in spring), then headed south to Barcelona where we meet family for a couple of awesome days. Drew’s cousin Eric studied abroad, so it was a blast getting to see the city though his eyes! If you ever get the chance to visit, DO IT! La Sagrada Familia is truly magical and awh inspiring!
Here we are exploring the Keukenhof:
And here we are in Barcelona at La Sagrada Familia. Sharing a little glimpse of outside and in:
After our time in Barcelona we went back West to visit Lisbon and Porto in Portugal. I instantly fell in love with Portugal upon arrival. We started in Lisbon, which is their biggest city of about 507k people, but it feels so much cozier. We’d met a new friend on the plane and ended up taking the train with her to the oldest part of town, Alfama cause Drew thought we were staying pretty close by. Nope. Our Airbnb was about a half hour walk away, up and down, and up and down, all these insanely hilly cobble stone streets. I was literally slipping thru the front of my shoes on the down hills! Open toed shoes with sweaty feet is not a great combo on those streets!
Anyways, we stayed and explored Lisbon for a few days before we headed to Porto. Porto is a colorful and beautiful old city that tells you all sorts of stories from the tiles that decorate everything from the train station to a simple home. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and is a World Heritage Site. Porto sites along the Douro River, which makes it the perfect location to bring port wine from farther down the river from the North where it is grown.
Along with the beautiful old architecture and the charm of the city we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of college age students all wearing the same black suits, capes, hats, and some had canes. What in the world had we stumbled upon? Well, we discovered that they were all students at the University of Portugal and participating in a graduation ritual called Queima das Fitas, Ribbon Burning. It’s an eight day festival celebrating their graduation. It really seemed like we had walked into Hogwarts! Well come to find out that J.K. Rowling had lived in Porto for some time and there may have been some inspiration…
Among all the college students, port wine, and beauty we also stumbled upon this great little cafe next to our Airbnb called NOSHI. This is where we discovered the perfect little breakfast combo that has followed us home. I give Drew total credit for ordering these two items. The first was called Mazagran, which is an iced coffee, lightly sweetened with lemon juice. Say what, lemon juice in my coffee?! I know, it sounds weird, but it has become our summer coffee of choice! The second little nosh was a breakfast toast that had a unique combination of cream cheese, nuts, and fruit.
The coffee and toast are both super easy to put together and a great way to mix up your black coffee and egg routine!
Mazagran Coffee Ingredients (serves 1):
- 4oz cold brew
- 2 tsp + a dash simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar boiled until sugar dissolves)
- 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
- 8oz water
Directions: to your cold brew concentrate add water, ice, lemon, simple syrup and shake or stir.
Portugese Toast Ingredients:
- Sliced bread (I would recommend a honey walnut, or something similar. I found a gluten free option.)
- Cream cheese (optional: lactose-free or nut cream cheese)
- Walnuts, chopped
Directions (It’s really so simple that you probably don’t need them, but if you do…):
- Toast your bread
- Nice smear of cream cheese
- Sprinkle with blueberries and walnuts
- Drizzle with honey
We probably drink a Mazagran iced coffee most days in the summer. It is super refreshing and adds a really interesting twist to the typical coffee. And that toast, it is such a yummy and crazy easy breakfast or snack. It only takes you a few minutes to put together and then you’re all set!
Do you have favorite meals or snacks from your travels? Italian anyone?