We first met Chris Amat in 2014 - he carried the field tan Brixton messenger and was known for his breathtaking photographs of the rugged mountains of Canada. Four years and three ONAs later, we are talking to him again about a recent trip he took with his girlfriend and fellow designer/photographer, Courtney Molyneaux to photograph the streets, food and culture of Lisbon and Barcelona. See below for some of their favorite images and moments from their trip.
Where: Lisbon & Barcelona
Why: Last November, Chris's parents decided to move to Portugal, it was a good excuse to get away from the cold Canadian winter. As for Barcelona we had heard great things from many of our close friends, so we were excited to get out there and experience the city and all the beautiful architecture and design first hand.
What did you take with you: We brought our Leica Q, 5D Mark III, Canon 50mm 1.2L, and our Bowery bags.
Best view: We watched the sunset and drank port at the Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon, which has a really great view of the city. The interior of the La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was other worldly.
Best thing you ate/drank? We decided to splurge on food this trip, an important part of traveling for me is experiencing the food... it's part of the culture. A few places stood out but the best overall experience for me would have been in Barcelona at Quiment & Quiment. A charming and very small tapas bar, with no more than 15-20 "seats" with only one table, the rest was standing counter space. The food was excellent and the sangria hit the spot. Oh, and don't forget to order a glass of Port in Portugal... our absolute favorite drink.
Conversation that will stick with you: We were sitting in a coffee shop in Lisbon and Courtney made the decision to quit her full time job to go freelance and start working for herself as soon as we get back home.
Landmark that was worth the hype: La Sagrada Familia. Words can't even describe this place, both of us were left speechless and pictures can't do it justice. We arrived right at sunset, and there were beams of light coming through all the stained glass. It was truly inspiring.
Day trips: Every day basically feels like a day trip. It's so easy to walk to different areas and neighborhoods in each city. We took a real day trip to Sintra to see the Pena Palace, which we would recommend!
They have the best: Both cities had the best food, not once were we disappointed by a meal. Lisbon won us over due to it's colorful, picturesque buildings and the pastel de nata (best dang custard pastry you will ever eat).
Best thing $5 can buy: Pastel De Nata. Everyone will tell you to go to the iconic Pastéis de Belém, but after talking to our host at the hotel, we were told to check out Manteigaria in Barrio Alto, his personal favorite spot. After trying both places, we both would recommend Manteigaria.
How to pretend you’re a local: Don't be shy, talk to locals and ask for recommendations. They know the places best and don't just visit the touristy spots, explore the city and create your own memories. Our favorite memories traveling have always been getting lost and embracing it.
Travel tips: Walk everywhere. We would map a place out that we wanted to go to and once we arrived, we'd wander around that area and stumble upon the best sites, shops, coffee, people.
Souvenirs: A hat from Lisbon's oldest hat store, Chapelaria Azevedo Rua and the book "Hot Dog Taste Test" by Lisa Hanawalt from Barcelona's smallest book store, Lino in Casa Bonay.
If you went back you would: We would love to visit up north in Portugal, spend some time in Porto and then head down south and spend some time relaxing on the beaches in the Algarve.
The shot you’re most proud of: We were roaming the streets of Lisbon on our last day, slowly making our way to get coffee. Chris stopped to get a shot of the narrow streets where the morning light was coming through when an older gentleman slowly walked into his frame. It was a peaceful and quiet moment that stuck with me.