Pairs Well With…Sunshine + Portuguese Egg Tarts + Blue Waters + Magic of the City
As I sit in the living room of my apartment in Portugal, windows open, sun shining in, church bells ringing, and the rumble of the 28 line (yellow tram) below me, I realize that these simple pleasures are what I hoped Portugal would deliver. Lisbon, dazzling, alluring and picturesque, is everything I want in a city – and more. Soaking in the dreaminess of the city with an espresso from the cafe around the corner in my left hand, and waving to the guy on his balcony looking in on me (which is only less creepy because it’s in the morning than it would be at night) with my right, I couldn’t feel any happier or carefree. These next four weeks have the potential to be Nicholas Sparks’ next novel plot. Just sayin’…
Before leaving Belgrade, I already had Lisbon on my mind. While it’s a dangerous thing to have expectations too high for anything unknown, especially cities or people, I let my mind put Lisbon, the San Francisco of Europe, on a pedestal anyway. Leading up to the move, I romanticized the idea of living in Lisbon, and about what the city would share with and teach me. My only hope was that the city and my preconceived notions delivered in ways my mind hadn’t got around to dreaming up yet.
Call me a mind reader, but I already knew I was going to love Portugal before I moved here. I just had a feeling and, sometimes, that’s just enough to go on. After five weeks in Belgrade with a culture that’s quite stoic, I realized that the culture and lack of radiant energy in Serbia took my energy, leaving me feeling drained and down at times. So, you can see why a place like Lisbon might seem refreshing right now.
And, speaking of refreshing, can we talk for a second about how I’m pretty much living on the water, which means two things: 1) my creativity peaks and 2) my tan will be on point all month long. So, if I’m not splashing around somewhere between Lisbon and Lagos, I’ll likely be holed up somewhere in Porto’s wine country or riding in a camper conquering the coastline. All these things are in a high realm of possibility.
WHERE I KICK IT: Perhaps my favorite apartment to date, my bright space offers an optimistic start to each day, a free churchbell alarm clock, and is conveniently located by this little wellness cafe that will no doubt know my order by the end of the week.
WHERE I’M WORKIN’ IT: A great open air workspace full of inspiration!
THE LISBON, PORTUGAL SCOOP:
Population: 531,000 (The smallest city we’ve lived in to date, though it feels much bigger.)
Currency: The Euro (1 Euro = $1.06 USD)
Language: Portuguese (Let’s see if I can do better than the time I went to Brazil…)
Lisbon, a city older than Rome by four centuries, offers lots of unexpected, yet delightful, surprises. There are hidden gems throughout the narrow and winding streets. Oh, and that big body of water I’d been calling an ocean in my Instagram stories? Joke’s on me. It’s a river, not an ocean, though, by the size of it, I’m going to guess many tourists and short-term residents make this mistake. Lisbon is the second oldest capital city in Europe after Athens, Greece. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure where Portugal was on a map, but then I realized it was the country that looks like it’s about to get eaten by Spain.
The people here are on what I’m calling “Lisbon time.” One of the locals I met yesterday even described her culture as lazy. “If Portuguese people have something they need to do, they will do it, but procrastination (and being on your own time) is a big part of the process.” The culture tends to be late for everything, and it’s a rarity that anything starts on time. Punctuality is just not a thing here.
FIRST WEEK OBSERVATIONS:
- Lisbon feels very San Francisco-eque, inclusive of a Golden Gate Bridge knock off. The difference is, I can afford to live in Lisbon. I can’t afford San Fran.
- You don’t stand a chance in heels since most of the city’s streets are cobblestone.
- These hills, with a 10-12% incline, offer a free “Buns of Steel” workout. But really, there are massive hills everywhere.
- My current bedtime puts me in bed about four hours before the real action of the city kicks in. Dinner takes place here between 9-10pm. Then, a pre-go out drink is usually in order before locals meet up with their friends around 3 am for drinks, dancing and socialization.
- What the hell are tuk-tuks doing here? This is Lisbon, not Asia! There is an increasing trend of tuk-tuk transportation here. Been there, done that. Somehow, tuk-tuks just don’t seem to fit in here.
- Egg custard tarts are all the rage.
- Porto is “the place” for all things port wine, but Lisbon’s drink of choice is Ginjinha, a cherry liquor that is meant to be sipped on and enjoyed before a big night on the town.
So that, my friends, is your Lisbon run down. I anticipate this will be one of my favorite months, so stay tuned to all that is to come!