The second half of 2016 was particular busy at work. It turns out that when the UK votes to leave the EU, Donald Trump becomes president, a handful more of the country most beloved celebrities die and a few European terror attacks rock the continent, then a pretty busy news cycle ensues.
It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, but my globetrotting as a ITV News producer does, I hope, offer an explanation for the sporadic blog posts last year. For this I’m sorry and I inevitably endeavour to do better in 2017. So here are a few of the adventures I didn’t manage to bring you as they happened last year. Hopefully you followed them on my Instagram, but if not then here goes.
In mid-November, Mum and I decided to head for some winter sun for a couple of days. We’d heard people eulogising about Lisbon, and with it’s consistent weather, laid-back culture and great reputation for food we didn’t look any further and booked our EasyJet flights in a heartbeat.
A city bursting with bright colours, rolling hills, rickety trams, seaside esplanades and fresh fish. Oh, go on then…
We stayed in the Principe Real neighbourhood, in a wonderful AirBnb (link here). An artistic area best compared to London’s Shoreditch, you’ll see a lot of street art and plenty of kooky concept stores. The views are breathtaking too, as it’s situated on a steep hill, and our apartment had a roof terrace so we spent many a morning/evening out there taking in the sights.
We spent our first few hours orientating ourselves and getting our bearings. The beautiful streets with cobbled pavements and faded facades were stunning to wander around and really gave us a first taste of Lisbon’s character.
But soon, we needed food and a crisp glass of white wine. We stumbled across A Cervicheria and it was perfect for what we felt like: something light, fresh and full of flavour.
We shared some duck croquetas to start with which opened our eyes to what we were about to experience: heaven.
When I posted the next photo on Instagram, somebody quite correctly pointed out that this place doesn’t serve ‘cerviche’ in the conventional, South American sense. Typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers, it is often served with chopped onions, salt, and coriander. But the A Cervicheria version is a little more elaborate, and in my opinion, spectacular. It does cross the boundaries of a traditional cerviche but when it tastes (and looks) as good as this, I very much doubt you’ll be complaining.
We also tried the following dish, which no longer seems to be on the menu and whose name escapes me. It was good, but not a patch on the cerviche – so stick with the speciality.
The atmosphere is very much that of a modern seafood bar. The chefs and waiters are all handsome young professionals and the restaurant is extremely popular among locals. We were the only non-Lisboans in there as far as I could tell.
We strolled around after lunch, keen to soak up more of the city. As it was November, the sun set quite early (same time zone as London) so we took in what we could.
We got as far as the waterfront, just as the light was fading behind the horizon, before turning back inland and up the hill to the apartment for a little down time before dinner.
My groovy mama suggested pizza and beers for dinner, and who was I to disagree. We walked to Pizzaria Lisboa (it has great reviews) but it was full, so we returned closer to home to Pizzaria Zero Zero. It was magnificent. The pizza bases are lighter than air, the toppings are to die for and the staff are incredibly friendly. The service is super speedy too! Win win.
If our first day was anything to go by, we laid our heads on our pillows that night knowing that we were in for a very special couple of days.