A Last Minute Trip to Lisbon (Day 103 to 109)

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Day 103 – Monday – Forum Meeting 1

I had my forum meeting with Forum A. The big focus for me was finalizing a personal goal for the next 6 months. I shared with the group that I decided to take this blog and turn it into a book to be released in April/May. More on that soon! Afterwards, we went to a great Lebanese restaurant owned by an EO Member from Dubai. 

Day 104 – Tuesday – Forum Meeting 2 – There Goes Paris! 

Today, I had my second forum meeting with Forum B. In this group, I coached a fellow entrepreneur through a challenge he was going through. There are very few things that give me as much energy as helping a fellow entrepreneur.  

At night, we learned more about the national strike in Paris and it became clear that our planned tripped for the extended weekend was unobtainable. So after weeks of planning, we cancelled it; and luckily due to the strike, we had no issues getting our money back. 

The main issue was that my flight to NYC on Sunday was from Paris to NYC. Again, luckily through Norwegian Airlines, I could easily switch my flight from Paris to Barcelona. 

For me, I was ready to call it a wash. Even though the kids had off of school for a holiday, I wanted to just stay local and drive somewhere nearby. Kel, being the go getter that she is, was hell bent on keeping our commitment to travel and explore while we are aboard. So after some research, she determined Lisbon was the best bet on short notice. 

However, we could not 100% get on the same page so nothing was booked on Tuesday night. 

Day 105 – Wednesday – Lisbon is Booked

After some back and forth, we agreed to go to Lisbon and take an early flight back on Sunday. I did not want to stress about a mid-day flight being delayed and interfering with my flight to NYC Sunday night. 

Packing for Lisbon and NY was more stressful than I would like to admit. Plus, I was already feeling run down from being under the weather the week before, with not as much sleep as I would have liked. 

As they say, these are good problems to have and reminded me that travel life abroad is exciting, but takes focus and commitment to keep up the regular travel.  Before I knew it, I passed out, ready for a morning flight to Lisbon. 

Day 106 – Thursday – We are Off – How Ironic is That? 

At the airport, when we were looking for our 12:15 flight to Lisbon on the board, we saw our original flight to Paris listed right under it. It was at the exact same time, and in big red letters it said CANCELLED.  That helped justify our preemptive cancelling of the trip and switching to Lisbon. 

Our cancelled flight to Paris below our current flight to Lisbon.

After a short flight, we arrived at our hotel. It was a perfect apartment/hotel and in the center of town. We grabbed a quick bite, walked to the river and the kids played in the sand. It was quite nice, and it was good to be in the mid 60’s again. Damn, I guess Kel knows what she is doing. It is good to be pushed to not stay in your comfort zone when it comes to traveling and exploring. 

The kids found bubbles to play within an hour of arriving in Lisbon.
Taking to Titi in the main square of Lisbon.

Kel went shopping with Leila while Josh and I took turns carrying Jonah back to the hotel, as he  didn’t want to put his shoes back on after the beach. 

That night we went out to Pizzeria Lisboa recommended by our friends in Barcelona. It was delish!

Day 107 – Friday – Maybe I Should Not Act Like a 6 Year Old Sometimes

Friday morning I went for my morning run. My favorite part of going any place new is exploring it first on a run. I decided to run up the hill in the old town called Alfama to one of the highest part of Lisbon. It was a nice steep incline, but living in Barcelona has given me great training the past few months so it was nothing I could not handle. 

From the top of my run to the top of the old town in Lisbon called Alfama
Saw this interesting mural while running through Lisbon.

Later in the day we took a tuk-tuk up into the old town with the kids and drove around checking out all the sites. Lisbon is known for tuk-tuks and the kids had been dying to ride around in one. We also stopped by a one-of-a-kind sardine store called Comur that has been in Lisbon for decades. They had lots of things for the kids to play around with in there including a jeep and a safe of gold plated sardine cans. 

Riding around Lisbon in a Tuk Tuk
Going back to the top of Lisbon with the fam and the tuk tuk.
Kel checking out the Cathedral.
Of course there is a Jeep in a Sardine store.
Leila in a safe of gold sardine cans at Comur.

We had lunch at the Time Out Food Market that had about two dozen restaurants with food stands to choose from. After lunch, the kids got dessert. They decided on huge pieces of chocolate cake that were 4 euros each. I asked Jonah for a bite and he said no and kept hiding it from me. Maybe I shouldn’t have acted like a 6-year-old myself, as I took my finger, stuck it in the cake and wiped it on his cheek… Bad idea! I thought it would get a laugh, but instead led to a screaming attack and major tantrum which I regretted for the next half hour. 

The Time Out Food Market in Lisbon

We found a very unique tree outside the food market, that made everyone better while climbing it for the next hour. From there we went shopping and the crowds were everywhere. 

All is forgiven when playing on the tree. Well, I was not really invited to play. Just joking.

At night, we made a last minute cancellation at a Fado restaurant. Fado it traditional Portugese music, but after researching it a little on YouTube, I knew it would not work out well for the kids. We ended up eating outside, next to a heat lamps, in the big square by the water. It was perfect. The kids could run around while Kel and I had a mini date night while they played. 

Day 108 – Saturday – A private 50ft Sailboat for only $100 Euro

In the morning we booked a last minute sailboat tour around the river to see some of the major sites. The drive there was great, as we went through many areas of Lisbon that we had not yet had a chance to see.  Well, when we arrived, we were in luck. A 50-foot sailboat meant for 16 people was only for us. Wow, what a treat. I guess not so many people want to sail on the river in the winter. 

The boys were in charge of steering.
Leila and Jonah leading the way.
I pinched myself to be so lucky to be on a sail boat in Lisbon with the love of my life.

It was perfect. We sailed past the Tower of Belem and all the way to the main square where the kids were playing the night before. Once the sun came out, it was warm enough to sit on the deck and relax with drinks and snacks provided by the captain. 

The Tower of Belem was suppose to like like a fortress ship defending the shore.

I couldn’t help put pinch myself. We were supposed to be in Paris right now, and with one day’s notice, we were able to switch our trip and be here. Again, I will give Kel all the credit as I was just fine staying put in Barcelona. 

After we docked, we walked to the famous Pasteis de Belem and had their delicious pastel de nata. We always want to have dessert for lunch and that is exactly what we did. 

From there we took a taxi to LX Factory. It is a cross between Wynwood Walls in Miami and Industry City in Brooklyn. It was an industrial complex of old factory buildings converted into trendy stores, art showrooms and restaurants. We hung there for a while and then took a taxi back. I went with the kids back to the hotel room and Kelli took advantage of some alone time and walked through the nearby Christmas market.

Some of the art at LX Factory
More cool art and and a cool girl to with it.
A cool book store at the LX factory complex.

We ended our trip at the perfect restaurant; this small Israeli restaurant called Tantura, with the best dips and authentic dishes. The walk there was a crazy scene. The 15 blocks to get there was mobbed with thousands of people walking around the main area for Xmas season. We felt like salmon swimming up river. I guess we weren’t the only ones who had the idea to follow the sun and go to Lisbon in December. 

Photo does not do it justice. We could barely walk with all the holiday crowds.

Day 109 – Sunday – Back to Barcelona & Off to NYC 

On Sunday, we took an early flight out of Lisbon and back to Barcelona. We arrived around 12:30, I walked everyone to a taxi and said goodbye. As I was walking through security to head to NYC, I started to get a little emotional. What would it feel like being back in NYC? I was excited to see everyone, but also apprehensive about leaving the life we have here even if it is for less than one week.

Trying to get the kids attention to say goodbye in the Barcelona Airport.

My flight did not leave until 6pm from BCN, so it gave me 5 hours in the airport to catch up on work, do some writing, and study my Spanish.