Sun. Sardines. Good coffee. Restful sleep. Reading at the beach. Walks along the promenade in Estoril. Portuguese filigree work. Handmade gloves.
This is what I came to Lisbon for. On previous visits, I had stayed at a fancy hotel, which was nice, but this time, I wanted to feel relaxed- with all the business travel I have had, whenever I'm in a nice hotel, there's a part of me that can't help but feeling I'm on the road for work. So I wanted to try airbnb. This was my first experience.
There were two criteria- one was location, the other was comfort and decor- within a certain budget. The hotel I was in was not so far from Ricardo's flat, so I felt comfortable. I had also looked at his other, more central flat, but it was full.
I really wanted to relax, so I wanted a flat that I would love to not leave- perfect as I ended up staying in on day two from an allergic reaction I had to something.
Ricardo was extremely helpful with advice on things to do in the area, even though he was extremely busy. His lovely mother came to greet me and to explain the flat as he was detained with some unexpected business. She was also gracious with information on the neighborhood, and pointed me to information on the neighborhood market, just up the hill and next to the church, as well as information on the flea market the weekend. I loved the attention, touches and details of the decor, the beautiful dance between dusk-to-evening light and shadows, and the garden of the British embassy the flat overlooks. One of my favorite things about staying in this flat was to watch the sky change color from the westward window- seeing the lone palm tree remaining a thin, black silhouette the whole time, until it blended into the night sky.
At night, there is a stretch of the street going to the hospital where the trams, buses and taxis are- maybe 200 m or so that is quiet and a bit dark that made me walk a little more briskly than the other parts of the street, but the flat is located just facing the back gate of the British embassy- there are guards at the gate all the time, which made this also quite appealing safety wise, as a woman.
The kitchen was great- there is everything I needed and more, the washing machine, all the facilities were great.
The last evening, I had a quite decadant dinner- before checking out of the flat, I found a swanky hotel in Belem to take a massage, hammam, and a little swim.
I couldn't have asked for a better time. I will definitely be back.