A Small Hop Over the Pond

I’ve had the itch to travel for the past couple of months, I had been dreaming of trips and endlessly pinning different vacation spots. My friend and I finally landed on a loose schedule that included round trip tickets to Lisbon and a loose plan to go to Malta for a couple of days. In case you’re curious Malta is quite far from Lisbon:

As you can see, not close

I spent the first couple of days in Lisbon by myself (my friend C was flying in later). I’ve never really traveled by myself before so I was nervously excited to do some solo traveling in Lisbon. After working 7 days a week for the majority of my summer I was looking forward to being able to disconnect and relax ( I slept for the 15 hours the first night! You could say I was tired). I spent the majority of my solo time wandering around Lisbon and exploring as many castles as possible. My second day I took the train from Lisbon to Sintra which is about an hour or so outside of the city and home to several castles. You can take the hop on hop off bus for 7 Euro round trip, which I would recommend since the whole trek is pretty hilly.

I truly loved being in Lisbon, the Portuguese are very friendly and the city is beautiful. My only weirdness was around eating alone, my only experience has been eating food in my hotel room solo during my weekly work travel (exciting I know). I truly ate out once when I was solo in Lisbon, I went to Tapisco (https://www.tapisco.pt/) in the Barrio Alto district, it was delicious. They have a little walk up bar where you can grab a drink while you wait for your table (it’s a bit of a wait). The food was fresh and delicious, and I would highly recommend it!

To break-up our travel time, C and I spent the night in Madrid on our way to Malta. We only had about 5 hours in the city before we had to go to bed to get up for our flight and we headed straight for food! We wasted no time in grabbing a glass of wine at the hotel bar and then heading out to find some paella. We went to this cute place where the owner served us copious amounts of wine and a yellow liquor at the end (still not sure what it was) and of course delicious paella. We left Madrid a little hungover and high on the high that good food gives you.

Our last stop on our Euro tour was the tiny island of Malta. Malta is a small island country in between the southern tip of Italy and the northern coast of Africa; it has a rich history as it has been ruled by a variety of rulers. We spent the majority of our trip in Malta, exploring the capital city of Valletta, the island of Gozo and taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Our day trip to Gozo was by far the highlight of our trip. Gozo is the smaller island, it’s more rural and home to some truly beautiful natural sites. We joined an Air BnB tour that took us all around the island to secret spots, it was an awesome day spent in the sun. I love being outside and really miss hiking out west so it was great to spend a day outside exploring.

Our last day we headed over to the Blue Lagoon, which is a small lagoon that has the most beautiful blue water. It’s also a very popular tourist spot, we went during off season but the beach was still quite packed. The beach is a rocky cliff and you can rent lounge chairs that are toward the bottom of the cliff. C and I roughed it up on the top of the rocks, which gave an awesome views but was not super comfortable to nap on. I found a flatish looking rock and spent the afternoon half in sleep and half listening to the multitude of languages around me. It was a perfect last day!

A couple of PSAs when traveling to Malta; the tap water isn’t safe to drink. It won’t kill you but since it doesn’t sit well in your stomach (I learned the hard way). There’s no Uber in Malta and the bus system can be kind of tricky; I would recommend using a cab app or if you feel brave driving.

All in all it was a wonderful trip! The temps just dropped in Chicago and I’m already looking forward to my next trip!

Let me know your travel recommendations!

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