Nobody warned me about Lisbon.

lisbon patio

People said we’d be overwhelmed in India. They swore we’d get bored in Cambodia. They even suggested that parts of China would be too much.

But no one, not one person, cautioned me that I might fall in love with Lisbon….and I did.

I fell hard.


I fell after a 2 am flight from Petra that dropped us in Frankfurt for a 2-hour stopover (where a burly woman prided herself on removing the kids’ juice boxes as a safety concern) *insert eye roll*. I fell despite arriving at Lisbon airport and making our way to Hotel Ritz Four Seasons  in a complete sleep-deprived fog.

But when the hotel surprised us  (as part of the research I’d need to write for the hotel’s Have Family Will Travel blog) with a trip out 2 hours later to see the city by motorcycle and sidecar, we all splashed water on our faces and prepared to go again. And I’m so glad we did.

The moment we saw our rides we were all wide awake.

Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon side car

side car

For me, the love affair began almost as soon as we took off on a chauffeured motorbike and sidecar through it’s cobblestone streets. And I definitely was in love before we hit the first roundabout.

I knew little of Portugal before we came.

And I’ll be the first to tell you that Europe as a whole was moved to the end in part because it felt less adventurous than places like China and Australia and Namibia. I knew what I’d be getting in Europe, I thought.

But I was wrong.

Lisbon offered up everything I love, and had forgotten I loved, about Europe.

Delicious foods. Beautiful wines.Fantastic architecture. A delightful way of doing things.


And the people! Kind beyond belief. Taxi drivers who don’t scoff at your short distance fare but regale you with stories despite the language barrier.  Front desk staff that walk you to the door when you’re leaving not because its’ protocol but because that’s the polite thing to do.

There’s less exasperation here. People don’t seem to get as easily frustrated as home. They’ve got problems too. The economy is the pits and they have good reason to worry but they haven’t let that stop them from enjoying life and sharing their love of it with you.

laughing sidecar

Lisbon is infectious.

Within five hours of being here I asked Ish if he’d consider a move. He would. We might.

Take a look for yourselves. I dare you not to fall in love.

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Big thanks to Hotel Ritz Four Seasons in Lisbon and SideCar Touring Company for arranging this amazing introduction.