Travel

7 Wonders of Lisbon: An Airbnb Online Experience

I signed up for 7 Wonders of Lisbon and spent the week preparing for my virtual journey to Portugal. After visiting Fine Wine & Good Spirits, placing an order on Amazon, and swinging by Trader Joe’s, I declared myself officially ready with a bottle of vinho verde, a can of sardines, and the ingredients to make pastéis de nata. I followed this recipe for Portugal’s famous custard tart but had to convert the measurements from metric to USCS. It took me two days to bring the tart to fruition, but the effort was worthwhile. The description of the experience instructed participants to bring a bottle of their favorite wine, a tin of fish, and something sweet to eat, but I took this a step further by acquiring authentic Portuguese products. I wanted to get as close to Lisbon as possible.

When the time came (5:00 PM EDT / 10:00 PM GMT+1) to join the virtual session, I picked out an outfit (long navy skirt, white button-up shirt, and sandals) that would have been suitable for Lisbon’s temperature (66 °F) that night. As the Zoom session loaded on my computer’s screen, I imagined my husband and I leaving our nonexistent Lisbon accommodation to meet up with the group in person. Maybe I’d bring my pashmina, I thought.

The group was composed of six participants and an engaging host named Andrea, who waisted no time getting the session started. We began with a round of introductions and briefly discussed our personal experiences as they related to the current state of things. Then, we traveled virtually to the spot where the in-person version of the tour begins, Estação de Rossio. Andrea led us through the history, culture, and cuisine of the city she calls home in the seven segments of her presentation. Her personal stories and recommendations made me look forward to visiting Lisbon even more. Here’s a list of fifteen places that have piqued my interest during the course of my online exploration of Portugal’s capital city.

Shopping Destinations

  • LX Factory / An artsy village of sorts with shops and eateries. I’d especially like to browse the books at Livraria Ler Devagar. Here’s some footage of the complex.
  • Embaixada / A gallery of shops located in the architectural gem Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha. Take it all in (00:35).
  • Charcutaria Moy / A provisions store selling a wide variety of tea. They also carry chocolate, sauces, spices, coffee, and more. Have a look around.
  • Conserveira de Lisboa / I’ll be buying canned sardines from this shop that was founded in 1930 as a grocery store. Although canned fish was at the core of the company’s business from its inception, today it specializes solely in this type of product. It has three in-house brands: Tricana, Minor, and Prato do Mar. Here’s an interview with Tiago Ferreira, one of the shop’s partners.
  • Bettina & Niccolo Corallo / This family-run coffee and chocolate cafe doesn’t seem to have a website beyond its Facebook page. As you can see (11.16), the establishment is small…not somewhere you’d sit for an extended period of time. I’ve heard the chocolate here is the best in Lisbon.

Restaurants

Museums

Works Sighted: Nuri Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil; Arca Nova Rose Vinho Verde; Pastel de Nata (made by me); Trader Joe’s Tunisian fouta towel

Packing for Lisbon

I signed up for my first Airbnb Online Experience: 7 Wonders of Lisbon. I bought a bottle of vinho verde, two tins of Nuri sardines, and all the ingredients to make pastéis de nata. Cue the fado! Thanks to a number of online resources, I’ve been able to introduce myself to the history, cuisine, and shopping establishments of Portugal’s capital city.

Whenever I am considering a new travel destination, I always start with Rick Steves (provided that he’s filmed an episode in the city I am interested in). I’ve seen every season of Rick Steves’ Europe (several times), and I never get tired of them.

Experiencing the local cuisine is one of travel’s many rewards. I began my research on Lisbon restaurants with a list curated by the blog Eater. I watched a video on Conservas Pinhais, the canning company that produced my Nuri sardines. Then I moved on to obsessing over the Portuguese custard/egg tart, pastel de nata. I browsed several recipes before setting on one from Buttermilk Pantry. Making this tart was laborious (I had to convert the measurements from the metric system to USCS), but I enjoyed the experience.

You can’t leave Lisbon without experiencing fado. I discovered the artist Camané and watched a documentary on Mariza and the history of this particular genre.

Perusing shops abroad is one of my favorite pastimes. I came across an informative article on Culture Trip, a helpful Lisbon-based blog named Lisboa Cool, and a few YouTube videos (by Air Transat) profiling shopping destinations in Chiado, Bairro Alto, and Príncipe Real.

When the time came for me to pack my virtual suitcase, I took two things into consideration: Lisbon is hot in the summer and has more than a few hills. You’ll find lightweight clothing and footwear made for walking in my carry-on along with a sunhat, sunglasses, and a straw tote.

Works Cited

Bondi Born belted linen midi dress; Cole Haan Anica sandal (sahara);

J.Crew tie-shoulder linen top; Le Kasha Gizeh belted linen midi skirt; Cole Haan Anica sandal (black)

Jason Wu Collection gathered cotton-sateen midi dress; Margaux Demi flats (platinum)

J.Crew tie-shoulder linen top; Grace Karin skirt; Superga 2790 Acotw (Navy)

LL.Bean women’s signature poplin dress; Superga 2750 Cotu Classic (white)

Airbnb Online Experiences: The Europe List

Since a number of factors are preventing me from flying at present, I had to come up with an alternative method of travel. That’s when I discovered that Airbnb Experiences have gone virtual. Typically, experiences are hosted in person around a specific theme. In the not-so-distant past, you could only enjoy them if you were physically present in the cities in which they were taking place. But due to the state of things, some opportunities are available via Zoom.

Not all in-person experiences are available in a virtual version, but the selection of online options is extensive nonetheless. If you don’t already have an Airbnb account, I highly recommend that you create one so that you can build a proper wish list. I recently discovered that you can only have 30 items on a list; I’m due to start my second one. It’s a good idea to check the lineup periodically because new online experiences are added quite frequently.

Here are the top 15 experiences from my Europe wish list:

Works Sighted: Somewhere over the UK en route to London Heathrow (September 2018).