Day 7: Journey Home & Recap

Lisbon was a whirlwind with a late afternoon arrival and an early morning departure. We only had time for a quick breakfast at the hotel of coffee, eggs, fruit, yogurt and pastries. At least we ate small portions of all! Our driver picked us up at 8:15a for our transfer to the airport. He’s a Lisbon native and pointed out the few sites we saw during the drive. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get more time here, but people did tell us that we saw the most beautiful part of the country. Bryan and I both said it would be nice to return to Lisbon in the future.

We had a much easier return: Lisbon-Boston-Austin! We made it home to Baxter B with our luggage and no broken wine bottles, and Baxter gave us more kisses than we knew were possible.

We slept like rocks in our comfy bed and enjoyed a leisurely morning complete with coffee in my new mug and snuggling with Baxter B. Spring sprung while we were gone and all of the world has descended on Austin for SXSW! We’ve got a couple of days to recover before baseball this weekend and back to the grind on Monday!

RECAP:

It feels a bit tricky to give a true recap since we weren’t able to fully experience all of our activities and felt so bad for the last half of the trip, but here it is:

Itinerary:

Bell & Bly did a great job curating a trip that aligns well with our areas of interest and preferred pacing. Their hotel selections were well chosen for both location and amenities. We loved the walkability of both Lisbon and Porto. All of the drivers were kind, informative, and I never felt unsafe! The walking tour guide was great, and I enjoyed our time with her. The experiences were fun, off the beaten path and educational. I felt like we got a nice introduction to Porto & Douro Valley, but not a deep dive into the areas.

A special nod to Six Senses. It’s a remarkable spot—even if (or especially if) you are recovering from food poisoning! The entire staff is top notch, providing beyond excellent service. I was constantly reminded of the book Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara. The hotel thought of so many details, the small things that add up to a unique experience for the guests. The extra touches of the chef making us broth on the fly and sending fruit, tea and chocolates to the room for us to enjoy later.

Also a special note about our first dinner—remember the 21 courses? I still believe 21 courses is a bit much, but the entire experience was one for the memory books.

A welcome gift from Bell & Bly at each new accommodation was thoughtful and a nice surprise. This was the most disconnected I’ve even been in planning a trip, and that was a new experience for me. It led to some surprises that were nice and also made me feel a bit unprepared—which was totally my choice as an experiment to see how I liked it and coped.

I would absolutely recommend Bell & Bly to anyone interested in a bespoke trip and will use them again!

GEAR & PACKING LIST:

We ended up checking our luggage and taking my carryon and a larger, hard-sided suitcase. I only took my larger purse as a carryon and Bryan took his laptop backpack. I wore everything I packed except my joggers & flannel top. I think I could have taken 1 dinner outfit and 1 shirt less, but I wasn’t sure how soaked we would get with rain. Rain coat is a must for this season. My new Dansko shoes and sneakers were both perfect—except my Dansko shoes set off the metal detector in Paris and Lisbon, so I would recommend not wearing on travel days. I didn’t need my blue crossbody purse as I just used my Hammitt wallet with crossbody strap if I wasn’t taking my entire purse. Bryan wore everything he packed except 1 shirt.

WHERE WE FELL SHORT:

We didn’t plan for enough euros for tipping because most of the restaurants didn’t allow tipping on a credit card. So, plan on having more cash than you would normally expect for tipping. The weather was not great, but the number of tourist was very low. So, you decide – rain or crowds? We had a very narrow window of travel, but if you have more flexibility, then consider May before it’s too hot, or September/October when it’s cooled off and for harvest in the Douro Valley.

 

Thanks for traveling along with us. I’m not sure where our next journey will take us, but I will keep you posted. Until then, I’m sending you happy and healthy traveling vibes.

Up next…stay tuned!

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One Response to “Day 7: Journey Home & Recap”

  1. Gail Baugher

    It’s always such a special joy to read your detailed travel blogs, Jerretta! Feel like I have traveled with you and Bryan – minus the jet lag!

    Reply

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