For our last day in London we visited the Royal Academy of Arts for the Renzo Piano exhibition. I’ll be honest – I didn’t know who he is, but Hannah is an architect and big fan, so she convinced us to go. The exhibition was super interesting and I didn’t realize how many of his buildings I’ve already seen, like the Centre Pompidou, The Shard, and New York Times Building.
Koen and I always seem to be visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum for a fashion exhibit, but this time we went for something a bit different – Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, a major exhibition that explores the design and culture of contemporary videogames. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I really loved it! So interesting to delve deeper into the creative process!
To quote the site:
This exhibition provides a unique insight into the design process behind a selection of groundbreaking contemporary videogames. Design work including concept art and prototypes featured alongside large-scale immersive installations and interactives.
Like any Harry Potter fan, if you’re in Porto, you have to visit Livraria Lello. J.K. Rowling lived in Porto teaching English from 1991 to 1993 and was a frequent customer and many say it was a direct inspiration for the books (which when you see below if evident). Livraria Lello is not only one of the world’s oldest bookstores (opened in 1906), but frequently ranks as one of the most beautiful.
Located just outside of Ponta Delgada is the A. Arruda Pineapple Plantation which you’re able to visit for free. You’re able to peak inside the greenhouses and see the different stages of the pineapple growth. Inside the gift shop we were also able to sample pineapple liquor and buy a few pineapples to take back with us. Yum!
Sunday we headed to the neighborhood of Alcântara to check out the LXFactory, a creative island in a factory setting with cool shops, restaurants, and galleries. Because it was Sunday, we were also able to see the weekly flea market. We loved walking around the photogenic LXFactory and enjoying all of the art.
One the biggest attractions in Lisbon is the district of Belém, situated west of the city center. We were staying in Alfama, and although we like to walk every where, Belém is more than hour away. So we took an Uber! There is not so much to do in Belém – it’s more things to see, so you only need to plan in a half day.
After exploring Quinta da Regaleira and having sweets at Piriquita, we visited the crown jewel of Sintra – the Pena Palace. For our trip to Sintra I was most looking forward to visiting the beauitful palace at the top of the Sintra Mountains in Pena Park. Just a tip – wear sneakers to Sintra! I had no idea that to get to the palace you literally need to hike uphill and regretted my sandals! But it was worth it (even though super crowded)!
If you have enough time while in Lisbon, the most popular day trip is to the resort town of Sintra at the foot of the Sintra Mountains – only 25 minutes by train. The city is beautiful and filled with many historical palaces and castles (and also a ton of tourists!). Just google Sintra and you’ll see all of the picturesque sites and understand why it’s such a popular destination!
Sometimes things just work out. While planning for our trip to Portugal, it can get overwhelming try to decide on where to stay in each city. For Lisbon I had debated between Alfama – the eastern part of the city – or a central neighborhood like Chiado or Baixa. Luckily in the end I chose Alfama! What a romantic, beautiful neighborhood!