Texans in Europe for 20: Lisbon, Portugal

Our 20th anniversary trip to Madrid, Toledo, Córdoba and Sevilla, Spain; Fatima, Santarém and Lisbon, Portugal; and Rome, Italy, was flat out amazing. To read all about it, just click on those links.

I’ve got one more post after today and then I promise to get back to blogging about organizing projects, birthday parties, motherhood, faith and Texas Aggies. Y’all are so kind to let a gal reminisce.


We started off our morning with a 7:45am photo shoot. It sounds crazy now, but the light was amazing and it gave us a jump start on a truly gorgeous day in the city. We only had until after lunch to soak it all in, so bask we did. Up first, Belém Tower. It’s one of the few things in Lisbon to survive the earthquake and tsunami of 1755. Gorgeous, isn’t it? Those photos are few sneak peeks from Flytographer and our rock star photographer, Ana Lucia.




Ana Lucia was so kind to give us a lift to the Pastéis de Belém. Along the way, we chatted about all the things to put on our list for “next time” in Lisbon. It reminded Scott and I there are nice people in every corner of the world. What a comforting and amazing thing.

We arrived at the pastry shop and declared we had died and gone to heaven. I mean, LOOK.



They are the real deal. And, yes, I would fly back just to have another. Or six.

We had heard so much about the Monastery of Jerónimos (another rare survivor of 1755) and the hype was real. We were the first ones in the door that morning and it’s a good thing, because the line snaked around the monastery! We skipped the cloister and just toured the church (free) and because we had limited time.







I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I believe it’s worth saying again: you were prayed for all over Europe. Scott and I asked for intentions from friends, family and our social media followers. This was one such morning when we sat, prayed and were present in the stillness. I even hopped a rope to sit in the adoration chapel for y’all! It made our trip that much more meaningful so I thank you for trusting us with your most private of intentions.

We wanted, so badly, to hop on the trolley or ride public transportation in Lisbon, but time just wasn’t on our side. We cabbed to most places and walked a few places in between. But as we left this beautiful city, Scott and I already started planning a week back in Portugal someday. That’s how much we loved it.

Okay, back to programming. We took a little stroll through the Bairro Alto neighborhood. The “high town” as it’s called, was largely preserved from the 16th century and required little rebuilding. We loved it. Exhibit A, São Roque Church.


The painted wood, false-domed ceiling (I know! It looks curved, doesn’t it?) is completely flat. We hear the acoustics in here are amazing. God love those Jesuits. They know how to build a church.


And, the side chapels of all side chapels is this St. John the Baptist, just to the left of the altar. Look like Rome? That’s because it is! It was the site of one papal Mass and then disassembled in Rome, sent to Portugal and reassembled earning it the “most costly chapel in all of Portugal.” It sure was a show-stopper.


The tile, it kills every time.


This is the sacristy (what?!) and the walls are adorned with 17th-century paintings illustrating the life of St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuit order.



We enjoyed the stroll. And the history. Did I mention our weather the entire trip was 75, sunny, no wind, no humidity? Also known as “a dream.”




Then, we ran smack into the Convento do Carmo. Normally, you have to pay to enter, but some kind soul left this door open and so I snuck in for a peek. Such a rule breaker, aren’t I? This was mostly destroyed in 1755, but because the arches still stood, they left them alone to remind people of the disastrous event and point people heavenward.




Behold, the view. The Elevador de Santa Justa sits adjacent to the convent and was designed by an architect who studied under Gustav Eiffel. Yeah, that Eiffel. We opted to skip the extra lift to the top and enjoyed the free view from the platform. Not bad, y’all.





This was where we planned to take the trolley. But traffic was terrible and they were moving slower than we could walk! There was only one flight from Lisbon to Rome that day so we couldn’t chance missing our flight. We spotted some beautiful views, found some gorgeous pottery to bring home and said adieu to sweet, sweet Portugal.





With that, we caught a cab to the hotel to grab our bags and jetted to the airport for home sweet ROME!

Even though we didn’t see or do all we had planned (can you ever?!) I’m so grateful we made the stop in Portugal. I’m not sure I’ve ever met kinder, more gracious people than the Portuguese. As providence would have it, I ended up sitting next to a guy on our final flight back to the states who had just spent a week in Portugal with friends. We swapped photos and stories and it left me excited about coming back to this beauty someday.

Tomorrow, we see the man, dine on the best Italian food on the planet and get the most spectacular God gift, ever. Ciao!

Places Visited Today
Belém Tower
Pastéis de Belém
Jerónimos Monastery
São Roque Church
Santa Justa Lift
Bairro Alto neighborhood
Hotel Corinthia

This posts contains affiliate links.


  1. Nicole on November 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Love the flytographer photos you had done. Also that top you are wearing is adorable! And the tile is soooo stunning in all of these places!

    • Kathryn on November 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you! We just loved the entire photo experience. The tile had me at hello.

  2. […] 20th anniversary trip to Madrid, Toledo, Córdoba and Sevilla, Spain; Fatima, Santarém and Lisbon, Portugal; and Rome, Italy, was flat out amazing. To read all about it, just click on those […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.