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hello, lisbon


lisbon // crumbling, charming, busy, warm, inviting, lovely 

… lisbon and i fell head over heels, romantic sitcom, chickflick-happy-ending in love at first sight. the kind of love where you’re already missing the person or place, even when you’re still with them. on our first afternoon in the city i left wen and the girls to rest in our gorgeous apartment and took a little walk around our neighborhood. 5 minutes in and i was already dreading having to say goodbye.

lisbon is definitely not a sparkling jewel like paris – it’s grittier, with peeling paint and chipped tile everywhere. but if you can embrace rather than criticize all of its imperfections, you’ll quickly find so much charm and character and warmth beneath all of those crumbling facades. and if you can’t get past all of that, well, then there’s always the custard tarts. i would hop back on that stinky, crowded ryan air flight right now just for one of those little gobs of happiness. seriously, paris can have its croissants, austria can keep its strudel, and i would even dare say italy can keep its gelato – those tarts are my new everything.  now if only i could find one (or two) in nuremberg.

i must also warn you that one of lisbon’s defining qualities is its hilliness – many, many hills. and given that there are so many hidden little corners to explore and discover, the best way to take it all in is by walking. all of that to say – pack your sneaks and stamina. or, in our case, given that we have 2 little chicklets who neither like to wear sneaks nor enjoy a stamina filled afternoon, hop a tuk tuk and let a local do the heavy lifting. this was, without fail, piper’s favorite part of the whole lisbon experience.

(and lest you think our trips are all smiling faces and instagram moments, i must confess that both girls ONLY wanted to sit by wen on the tuk tuk, so i sat in a funk in the back seat, growling at all of the strangers who wanted to take a picture of the maxey clan tuk-tuking around lisbon. rumor has it i MAY have said something to the effect of, “fine. i don’t want to sit by you either” to my 5 and 7-year-old daughters. awesome.) 

a short drive away is this amazing little village called sintra, where you have your pick of ridiculous, fairy-tale castles to explore. it’s packed to overflowing with tourists, but totally worth it. go early. have a plan. it’s pinterest-pin-your-heart-out worthy pictures every where you look.

after 5 amazing days with my new city-love, we were on the road to the south of portugal … the beach was calling so we ventured forth.