London to Lisbon

Last month myself and Ben Vendetta traveled to London for the book launch of “Sunset Trip” which took place at an iconic music store, Rough Trade. It was great to met some members of bands I have always been a fan of, to see old friends, and to see people who came as far away as Newcastle and Birmingham for the event.

I think I packed as much as a could into my days five in London (boy how many co-working spaces do they have in London now, because it was a lot!) and I managed to do east, west, and everything in-between. This was a trip I allowed myself some touristy things; even a trip to Selfridges which was already playing Christmas music in mid October. I hadn’t been to London since 1992 if you can believe it. To me it was always the center of the world over New York City.

While we were planning the trip, we thought we would be going to Tangier after the book event. That didn’t work out for various reasons, so instead we opted for Lisbon. I’m so glad we did.

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Kensington Palace, baby.

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The lifestyle and fashion bloggers in Notting Hill were out in full force, lemme tel ‘ya. It’s so bad now that a lot of the front steps of homes are roped off to prevent girls from posing front all the time. I hear this has become a thing in Palm Springs for homeowners to do as well. A group of girls were posing on the hood of someone’s parked Karmann Ghia and Ben was tempted to yell at them to get off his damn car!

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Ben and Ashley Norris doing a talk and Q&A at Rough Trade East. Get the book here!

Mel Butler came all the way from Middlesbrough to support Ben’s new book!

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Can you believe this is a bowling alley!?

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We did not order champagne but I did have a number of cocktails and the best Beef Wellington of my life at Bob Bob Ricard. Desserts were set on fire, and the ladies room were individual tiny full baths each with its own attendant.

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Behind this door was a private event full of indie rockers that Ben was asked to DJ for. It was great because I got to meet Miki of Lush, and if you had told me 15 year-old self that I’d be in a private basement club in Fitzrovia talking to Miki of Lush about the US midterms and my president being Trump, well… yeah, I’d say you were nuts.

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Then is was off to Lisbon. We stayed in the Santa Catarina area and it did not suck. So many restaurants and we didn’t get to try them all. We were also down the street from one of the film locations from “Night Train to Lisbon” which happens to be next to the Pharmacy Museum. They had a great outdoor restaurant overlooking the bay.

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The Pena Palace in Sintra. So crowded with tourists even on a Wednesday (more in the video below) so I recommend avoiding it on weekends because wow wow wow. Thankfully I booked a private car and guide who got us tickets ahead of time and was on-call so to speak. He wore an incredible blue suit and it probably looked like we had our own security detail the way he walked us around in Sintra. He also took us to the most western spot in all of Europe and on a scenic drive along the coast. Since 2016 tourism has exploded in Portugal and I can see it being both good and bad. Lisbon will begin building a new airport in 2019, that’s how crazy it is getting. There were a number of hostels and AirBnbs on the street we stayed at. By the way this was my first and last time doing an AirBnb. I won’t go into it, but let’s just say the Ibis hotel saved the night we arrived.

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Lisbon has a number of record shops, but our favorite had to be Groovie Records. Funny enough, the proprietor knew and has done business with some friends of ours. He has a record label as well.

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I highly recommend the Military Museum in Lisbon, My God it was gorgeous and there were maybe only 3 other people in it. Did I mention it is free? I mean look at the ceiling!

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Vices in tile.

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I really wish I’d had more than really what was four days in Lisbon. Ah, hoping for another stop in the future. The cocktails, wine, and coffee were amazing.

Photos, oh-so many photos…