We needed a romantic weekend away, just me and my boyfriend Liviu. After a bit of debate and an arm-wrestle we decided on Lisbon. It was his first visit to the capital of Portugal and I was excited to be rediscovering the city.
Accommodation was an apartment that we’d booked through private rentals platform misterb&b – they’re marketing specifically to gay travellers, so I felt pretty confident that we wouldn’t have any dramas. It was easy enough to navigate our way from the airport, via the fast and efficient metro system to find our apartment on Rua da Oliveira ao Carmo. This turned out to be a great location — central, and within easy walking of everything that we needed.
Getting our bearings
Liviu was keen to hit the beach straight away, but this isn’t Barcelona, so I instead persuaded him that a walk around the city was a good way to get our bearings.
Rattling trams and buzzing tuk-tuks are on hand if you can’t quite face the multitude of steps. But if you’ve got the energy, this a great city for working up an appetite while walking.
There’s a lot to love about Lisbon — its hilly landscape gives spectacular views across the city, the pavements of coloured stone constantly present eye-catching designs, and there’s some postcard-worthy monuments that ensure plenty of selfies.
On our trek up to Castelo de Sao Jorge, we stopped at Gelato Therapy for some top-drawer ice-cream – vanilla and basil, paired with strawberry was a winning combination.
Just as our energy was starting to flag at the end of a solid afternoon of sight-seeing, we stumbled across a small bar on some steps behind Castelo de Sao Jorge that had a happy-hour on bottles of Super Bock beer. The timing couldn’t have been better.
A night out
Bairro Alto is the famous area of the city where everyone goes for a drink. It was a Friday night for our first night in Lisbon. We grabbed a late dinner from one of the restaurants on the steps leading up Bairro Alto — seafood and rice , one of Lisbon’s staple dishes — so great to be able to sit outside and enjoy the warm evening. It was late compared to our normal routine, but quite a normal time for dinner by local standards.
We then wandered the narrow streets of Bairro Alto to see where the action was. Our favourite bar was called Side Bar — it seemed to be the gayest, and they made great mojitos.
We were back there on the Saturday night also, and it was busier and gayer. Great fun — everyone out in the street, drinking, and soaking up the atmosphere.
While Lisbon is surrounded by water, getting to a beach requires some transportation. If you had a car, you’d make the effort to get to the famous Beach 19 on the Costa da Caparica – about 30 kms south of Lisbon. We were relying on trains, so the easiest option for us was to take the train to Carcavelos — a straightforward thirty-minute journey from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station.
Carcavelos is a beautiful, sandy beach. It’s a relaxed, family-style beach popular with locals. You would wear your short shorts rather than your low-cut speedos.
The weather was spectacular and we spent all of Saturday here, achieving some dramatic tan-lines.
Living like a local
I’m actually a terrible tourist. I don’t really enjoy rushing around, trying to see things — I’m much happier just wandering around, sitting in a cafe, getting a feel for a city.
Our final day in Lisbon was a Sunday, and we decided to just go for a walk and see where it took us.
We wandered through the Praça dos Restauradores, and then up to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara where there was a summer market. After fuelling up on chorizo and sangria, we headed on up Rua Dom Pedro V where we called into seafood restaurant A Cevicheria for some pisco sours.
From there, we wandered slowly down to the waterfront and grabbed some food from the Mercado da Ribeira.
Our weekend mini-break to Lisbon had come to and end, but it’s a city that we’ll definitely be returning to.
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How to pack for your first Pride
A trick question: What is more colorful than the Carnival in Brazil? If you said the RuPaul’s Drag Race stage, you would be half right, as the correct answer is – Gay Pride. Is there something happier and more colorful than this? These extremely happy events are organized all over the world – some are excellent, some are mediocre, but all of them are so much fun. No matter where you’re going – either your country but a different city, a totally different country or simply a couple of streets from your apartment, it’s very important to know what things you have to pack or prepare. Take a look at the following list, write the items down and put them aside in order to be fully prepared and not forget anything for your first Gay Pride!
The most important thing is to have all the necessities with you. Make sure that you have all the documents you need (passport included if you’re traveling abroad). As far as the clothing is concerned, make a plan of all the fashion combinations you will rock at the Pride beforehand. That way, you’ll save a lot of time thinking about the endless sexy combinations you can go with. Is it a sexy sailor or an S&M policeman? It doesn’t really matter – prepare everything in advance. Finally, don’t forget the essentials from the cosmetics department. Have all the moisturizers, crèmes and body lotions. Also, remember to take your favorite perfume with you as you want your scent to attract as many guys as possible!
Remember that you’ll be walking and dancing most of your time, so bring the most comfortable shoes from your wardrobe. The best option would be New Balance shoes, as they are extremely comfortable and always sexy and fashionable – you know that the gays judge, so why not choose something that gives you the best of both worlds? The thing that you want the least is to get blisters during the course of the Pride, so do whatever you can to avoid that.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re about to take someone home after Gay Pride (Who are we kidding? Of course it’s important!), but having the best underwear is crucial. Take a look at your underwear drawer, and if you’re not satisfied with the pairs you already own, do your shopping before the Big Day. If you really want to be bold and fabulous, you can also check online stores like Tani USA and get the sexiest underwear they sell – at Gay Pride anything is possible! Rest assured that somebody will definitely get to see your underwear, so it’s best to avoid any embarrassment because of poor underwear choice. Remember this mantra – good underwear in the streets, good underwear in the sheets (for a couple of minutes)!
Finally, think about all the accessories that you get to take with you for your trip to the Gay Pride and your stay there. First of all, take headphones with you as the trip there might be a bit daunting and long. Furthermore, don’t forget the gay pride accessories, such as rainbow flags, glitter, badges, and all the sexy see-through T-shirts you want to wear there. You want those nipples, arms and stomach to be seen, baby! If you’re planning to dress up into your favorite sex fantasy, make sure to have all the equipment you need (depending on the outfit, of course).
Condoms and patience
Both of these are very much self-explanatory. First of all, pack as many condoms as you can. You won’t necessarily be using them for their actual purpose, but you can also give them away at the Gay Pride, or make balloons that you will carry around. You never know how the Pride’s going to go, but it would be best to be prepared. After all, maybe you’ll be using them for their intended purpose. Finally, bring patience, as the crowd can get wild!
Apart from these, bring your open mind and good mood. Pour glitter all over your body, work those ass muscles a bit more if needed, and get ready for the time of your life!
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