One of my favorite couples just returned from an awesome trip from Portugal. Before they flew off to Portugal I was already excited to hear their stories as they had planned many fascinating activities. We used this opportunity to interview them about their experiences when it comes to planning and traveling as a couple, about their adventures, stories and personal high- and low-lights.
Now, the curtains are raised for our guest authors.
ALL EYES ON:
DIANA & DANIEL.
How did you decide where to go?
It was a present for Daniels 30th birthday. The location (Lisbon/Cascais and then Porto) was already planned, as we really wanted to go there for a long time. First, it was our idea to just do a city trip. When we found out, that the flights are way more expensive than expected, we decided to extend the trip. We then stretched it to a 2-weeks trip including a surf and yoga camp for 7 days, situated in Cascais, a tiny village 25 minutes from Lisbon. A bunch of friends was visiting Lisbon and Porto over the last years and all of them got really crazy about Portugal. We collected all of their recommendations for Lisbon, Cascais and Porto and then started planning the trip.
We grew. And the best thing: We grew together.
Where did you research? Pinterest? Or did you get inspired by your friends?
To be honest: We really focused on the recommendations and secret tips of our friends. As we know what kind of travel style they like, we really depended on their stories and advice. The surf and yoga hostel in Cascais was the insider tip of a close friend. She spent some time as this place last year and was more than hooked. And I really loved the idea of combining yoga and surfing – Daniel really loves surfing, I preferred the amazing yoga lessons during sunrise next to the sea. Last, but not least: Of course, a guide book was also very helpful.
What was the biggest challenge when it came to planning your trip?
The tasks were split and clear: Daniel was responsible for booking the hotels and I was doing the research for activities as well as the booking of the hostel. But, the truth is: The biggest challenge was to keep Daniel motivated to fulfill his part.
How did you live? Hotel, hostel, Airbnb or couch surfing?
In Lisbon, we decided to stay in a low budget hotel – directly located at the pink street. We did not realize that this is the main party street in Lisbon. The hotel 262 boutique was actually nice, but the location was way too loud and crowded during night time. In Cascais, we stayed as mentioned above at the surf and yoga retreat hostel Salty Pelican in a private double room. After 1,5 weeks living low budget we decided to spoil ourselves with a stay in a 5* hotel in Porto. As it was not located in the city center we needed a bus or cab to go to the city center and back – that was, to be honest, really annoying. It kills every kind of flexibility. The hotel Ipanema Park itself was nice, has a pool and a rooftop. If someone searches for relaxation: It’s the right place. If you want to discover Porto: You better look for something located in the city center.
Did you pre-plan your days? Or just decided flexible whatever you are up to do?
In Lisbon and Porto we really acted flexible. In the morning, after we got up, we had breakfast and spoke about our plans and the researches we did in advance. We then did a rough planning and started off. In Cascais the days were already planned – Yoga lessons in the morning and the evening and some surfing in between. But as it was also a holiday for us, we had a bit of free time to discover the city of Cascais or just to stay at the beach and relax.
Did your relationship change or develop in any kind of way?
Honestly, I am normally 100% scared of doing longer couple trips. Why? We are a couple since 2009 and really know each other very well. We also live together, but traveling is different. Being together 25/7 scares me and totally freaks me out. The real surprise for the both of us was: The yoga and surf retreat was the best option we could ever find: a lot of activities, a lot of flexibility and much more fun. And in addition to that, we had no stress planning the days. Our relationship changed in that way, that I’m not scared of doing a longer trip anymore. We grew. And the best thing: We grew together.
What was your personal highlight?
- Lisbon Bar: Our personal highlight was “Pensoa amor” in Lisbon – this bar is a must visit. This place hosts several spaces in one: bar, erotic bookstore for the open-minded ones, nooks and for those who are more timid, tasty cocktails during the night, different conversations and entertainment like jazz concerts or lectures every day. This place is a vivid platform that represents the Portuguese lifestyle and mindset all in one.
- Lisbon Restaurant: The restaurant “organi chiado” situated in the city center of Lisbon is totally worth a visit. They offer a broad range of vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic as well as gluten free food. And the best thing? They use only fresh ingredients they bought at the local market in the morning. As a consequence, the menu changes every day, depending on what they got at the market.
- Cascais Activity: I really enjoyed the yin yoga classes in the afternoon and the yang classes in the morning right at the pier when the sun started rising.
- Porto Restaurant: Our personal insider tipp for all veggie lovers – the Restaurant “da terra”– it’s a vegan / vegetarian all you can eat buffet – best veggies, herbs and various options of cooked food, fresh lemonades, soups, and all kinds of salads and hot pots. Porto is not the best place for vegetarian friendly food, that’s the reason why this place is highly recommended by us.
And what was your personal low-light?
We tried the Gondola in Porto – and we really were disappointed. Of course, 6 Euro is not a huge amount of money. The duration of the ride was around 2 minutes and the “Port Wine Tasting”, which was included in the ticket was more a rip-off than a pleasure. You’re not missing much.
Is there anything you would change for your next travel? A learning?
Definitely, yes. I want to be prepared in the future. Reading books, blogs and guides, soak up the culture and food in advance to enjoy the stay even more relaxed.
What’s your next destination?
Sri Lanka. I am already excited, ahhh.