Diamond in the Rough

One thing about Spain and Portugal is that people really enjoy their night life. It doesn't matter whether you are young or old, everyone loves a good party. Many nights in Lisbon, Adrienne and I were unable to fall asleep because the locals down the street were hosting a full blown karaoke show down: old men singing to their hearts' content into the wee hours of the night. We realized soon that you should always bring earplugs when you travel. 

Despite those sleepless nights, we managed to see a lot during the day. We day tripped to Sintra (an hour away from Lisbon), visited the Belem tower, browsed through the Thieves Market, ate a lot of Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts) and worked out those leg muscles 'cause Lisbon is as hilly as it can get.  Our favourite part was definitely Sintra. With its lush exotic gardens and pastel colored castles, Sintra looked like it popped out from a fairy tale story. We spent the majority of our time visiting Pena Palace and the magical gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira. Definitely a must-go even if your time in Lisbon is limited.  Portugal used to be a world power in the Renaissance period. Compared to other European capitals, Lisbon looks dilapidated after decades of economic and political struggle. Behind the graffiti facade, broken tiles and vacant buildings, you could could still see the city's former glory shimmering through. 

For some reason, every meal we had in Lisbon was really good (and cheap too). From our finds on Yelp to the obscure restaurant next to our Airbnb. Here's a list of some places you should try:

Nova Pompalina - Their suckling pig sandwich is the most popular item on the menu but what we enjoyed the most are their unique smoothie blends. 
Pão Pão, Queijo Queijo - If you are looking for huge plates for dirt cheap, this is the place to go when you visit Belem. The cooks are generous with their servings and don't skimp on anything. You want chicken? Here, have the entire rooster.   
Bonjardim - Really flavorful peri peri chicken. They have a spicy sauce that is equivalent to crack when you swab it on your chicken. As a former food scientist, I'd like to point out that the sauce container was probably unsanitary but heck, I'll risk food poisoning for some of that chicken leg. 
Time Out Mercado da Ribeira - Hipster foodie heaven pretty much sums up this market hall. Located near the marina, this market used to be one of the most famous Fish markets in Europe. Now, it is a hub of Lisbon's most iconic eateries.

Adrienne made an omelette using the panini press because we didn't know how to properly turn on the electric stove. It worked really well and wasn't messy at all! Panini-pressed omelette will be added to my limited cooking repertoire now.