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Adventures abound when you’re travelling the world as a digital nomad with Remote Year. Our third week in the Lisbon area of Portugal was a wild frenzy of fun — a new travel experience every day!
Included in our monthly fees for Remote Year are 3 local experience “tracks”, which are curated, authentic experiences that are designed to immerse us into the unique aspects of each international location that we stay in. There are more than 3 tracks offered, and we get to choose the 3 that resonate the most. Tough decisions!
On top of the 3 included tracks are “plus” tracks… similar local experiences that we pay a nominal fee for.
And then there are the spontaneous events that blossom out of a group of curie-ous* like-minded travellers.
So this week I am sharing with you some photos of the 5, yup, 5 experiences I enjoyed with my fellow Curie Remotes during our third week in Portugal. It was a wild and crazy week in the life of this #digitalnomad.
*Each Remote Year program has a theme name, and ours is Curie.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Seas The Day, a cycle tour along the Atlantic coast
We hopped on a quick ferry ride across the Tagus River and met our tour guide, Joana, at the ferry terminal in Trafaria. Joana operates Varina Bike & Adventure Shop, and her enthusiasm for cycling is matched by her pride at sharing the authentic Portuguese fishing culture with avid learners.
We cycled through Trafaria, and the quaint fishing village of Cova do Vapor, where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic ocean, and then to our ultimate destination… a local fishmonger’s private home in Costa de Caparica where we were treated to a multi-course homemade meal featuring freshly caught octopus. Yes, I ate octopus for the first time! Cooked with rice and several herbs and spices, it was, well, simply yummy!
My fellow #RYCurie Remotes on the ferry crossing the Tagus River to enjoy a day of cycling and adventure. Back row L-R: Luke, Ron, Whitney. Middle row L-R: Dylan, Sara, Alex. Front row L-R: Chimdi, Gavin.
Joana gives us a history lesson in Cova do Vapor, where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic ocean.
There’s a 5th Avenue in Cova do Vapor! It may be bit more rustic than its more famous counterpart in NYC, but it’s definitely colourful.
Who can resist taking a selfie with the mighty Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop! Chimdi and Whitney ham it up on the coastline at Costa de Caparica, Portugal.
A typical Portuguese lunch is not a solo dine & dash affair. It’s a cultural ritual to eat late, eat large and eat socially. Our #RYCurie group enjoyed a homemade seafood lunch at a private home, prepared and served by the ladies who caught the octopus earlier that day. How authentic can you get?
Street Art in Lisbon, Portugal
Here’s the description of the “Street Art” track: “Want to get to know the soul of Lisbon? The writing’s on the wall, baby! We’ll trace the course of the city’s street art from its origins in Bairro Alto through to its contemporary representation in LX Factory. We’ll even let you leave your own mark so you can be sure the city won’t forget you.”
You may initially see Lisbon’s street art as graffiti, but after this tour you see things with different eyes. And a different mindset.
It was tough to choose just a few photos to share with you, but these span a wide representation of all of the street art we enjoyed.
What did you do to save the world today? The entire underground tunnel near the Alcantara train station is graced with art depicting many Lisbon landmarks—and challenging you to think differently.
Lisbon’s street art is pure poetry.
I really enjoyed the complexity of some of Lisbon’s street art. It’s not all “graffiti”.
Chop It Like It’s Hot, Time Out Market, Lisbon
The Time Out Market is one of Lisbon’s largest food halls, featuring fresh food market vendors of meat, fish, fruit & vegetables and flowers, plus 24 restaurants, 8 bars, a dozen shops and a live-music venue. Oh… and an “Academy” where you can learn how to cook!
So, as a food & travel photographer, naturally I chose a food-prep workshop as one of my experience tracks.
“Chop It Like It’s Hot” gathered 13 of our #RYCurie Remotes together for a cooking lesson mid-day, mid-week. And, as you can see by the first photo I’ve shared, the lesson started with Portuguese wine! And ended with the most delicious steak & potatoes lunch I’ve had, maybe ever? (The rich butter sauce may have been a factor in the yum-o-meter.)
Most Portuguese meals start with their famous bread. It’s just so hard to resist! Alex, my cooking partner, shows how to dip the bread in the equally-famous Portuguese olive oil.
This is a direct quote from Teresa, our Chop It Like It’s Hot instructor: “If you’re feeling down & alone, eat butter.” (Can you see how much butter she is adding to the pan to make the sauce?)
Resting just before the butter sauce gets poured on, this steak & potatoes dish was super-easy to prepare and super-yummy to devour!
Iron Chef (Friendly) Cooking Competition
There are many ways to connect with our fellow travellers, and this first “connect event” put small teams to task to create and serve a multi-course meal. Now, this was a challenge in several ways.
- First, everyone is pretty busy here so organizing people and time around creating a dish is a big challenge.
- Second, you had to make enough food to serve up to 40 people. Say what?
- Third, kitchens are small and relatively lacking in food prep utensils and accessories, which is a big challenge for a regular meal let alone one for 40 people.
- Fourth, you had to ensure that all food prepared contained no walnuts, sunflower seeds or chickpeas. (Still unsure why those specific ingredients were off-limits.) And some had to be vegan, some dishes gluten-free.
- Fifth, your dish had to be inspired by local Portuguese cuisine.
- And finally, you had to transport your dish to our favourite cocktail bar and provide plating options for 3 judges and 30+ hungry travellers.
Luckily, as the resident food & travel photographer, I was absolved of any food prep activity. But my challenge was capturing the event in photos… in a very dark bar, filled with people, and after having, uh, a couple of cocktails. Here are just a few…
Charlie, Nikki and Whitney were teamed up and the judges deemed their appetizer the best of the bunch! They officially called their appetizer Devilled Mussels. It was a layered combination of Portuguese mussels, caramelized onions, red & green capsicums, cilantro, butter, white wine and garlic, and eggs devilled with the mussels. Oh my, they tasted as good as they looked!
Portuguese sardines are a delicacy here, however, looks like Luke and Carly aren’t the biggest fans! But their sardine salad was super-delicious.
Dylan, Nora and Zoe created a port gelato. Rumours say they tested the recipe numerous times to perfect it!
The First Remote Year Curie Birthdays
It dawned on me while we were celebrating Kaydee and Igor’s birthdays that, by travelling with this crew for a full year, we will get to celebrate everyone’s birthday! How fun is that?
Big kudos goes out to our program leader, Josh, for making sure the birthday cake was supplied and well-lit.
Kaydee and Igor celebrate the first #RYCurie birthdays!
Discovering Arrabida Secrets by Kayak
By the time Friday of week 3 rolled around, I was tired! As you can see, it was a whirlwind week filled with events.
But I had another adventure to look forward to that I was really excited about it. Spending a day on the water in a kayak is something I dream about. It’s my happy place! So I dragged myself out of bed and got to the meeting place early enough to enjoy a ham & cheese croissant with cappuccino before the rest of the gang arrived.
And I made a tough decision that morning—I decided to leave my camera at home. Not only was I protecting it from potential water damage, I just needed a break from photographing. I wanted to appreciate every single moment of the day, be in the moment, connect with my new friends. So I was very appreciative of all of the others who took some great travel photos of our day in the Natural Park of Arrabida.
And special thanks goes out to Nuno, of Shore Break Waveriding School, who was our expert guide that day.
Most of the following photos are credited to Gavin Elster (with a little help from Nuno).
Our gang of intrepid kayakers is all ready to go! Photo credit: Gavin Elster
Praia dos Galapos, a secluded beach on the shoreline of the Atlantic in the Natural Park of Arrabida, Portugal, is best reached by kayak. Photo credit: Gavin Elster
It’s just like a picture postcard, right? This is the view at Praiado Portinho in the Natural Park of Arrabida, Portugal. Photo credit: Gavin Elster
As if the beachside view wasn’t enough, our multi-course lunch at Ozeca Restaurant was superb! The owner of the restaurant is a friend of Nuno, our kayaking guide, and they opened up just for us that day. Left side, front to back: Helen, Walker, Luke, Lisa. Right side, front to back: Gavin, Beth, Nikki, and Barb. Photo credit: Nuno, using Gavin Elster’s camera 🙂
Even after a long, leisurely lunch, we got back in the kayaks to venture a bit north-west to some caves. A few brave souls clambered on shore to explore while the rest of us looked after the boats and enjoyed the sun shining on the turquoise water. Photo credit: Gavin Elster
Watching the sunset over the Natural Park of Arribada, reminiscing about all the fun we had on that water earlier in the day. Photo credit: Gavin Elster
That’s It For Wild Week 3
I may be a week late in posting but, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun! Looking back now on week 3 of Remote Year Curie makes my head spin. How did we do it all, and still work, sleep and eat, do laundry, stay connected on- and offline? It’s a bit of mystery now, but I’m still standing, still enjoying this lifestyle, and still looking forward to more travel experiences to share!
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