I’m currently sitting in Jardim Botanico da Universidade Lisboa. I was on my way back from a little outing with American Davey (a guy I met at a Couchsurfing meetup)…after having our ritual-pastel de natas (custard tarts) and sitting in a Melbourne-like café, sipping on the best coffee I’ve had in Europe so far while doing life admin on my itinerary in Portugal and posting public trips on Couchsurfing for the hiking and exploring of national/nature parks in Portugal. I’ve decided I want to see two of the natural parks (maybe just one) and if I leave tomorrow it gives me enough time to see the main things which attract me in Portugal (central and north). I don’t have enough time to do south. It’s so strange because I don’t really think I’ve ever planned and researched where to go in a country since India.
It’s strange what time does to you ~ I’m only planning because I know my euro-trip is coming to an end. Realistically, I could see myself getting stuck in Lisboa because I actually love this city…and that’s what I decided to write this entry on (my love for this city was my inspiration).
Lisbon…or Lisboa ~ whatever you want to call it (whichever language you prefer to use) has a special place in my heart. In my previous blog where I chased a holiday romance which failed ~ I explained the story of how I came here on a whim and accidentally discovered the love for this city. It’s really strange because I kind of went through the same travel-pattern in Europe again ~ last December, I first went to Barcelona and then went to Lisboa by bus. But this time, I went to Lisboa from Sevilla in Spain instead of Barcelona (Barcelona was my first stop in Spain).
Where do I even begin???
I guess my inspiration is a good starting point…
My love for Lisboa
When I sit back and think of Lisbon ~ all I feel is joy and happiness. I have a true, deep love for this city which I’m having trouble putting into words. I guess when you love a place or something, you just have the feeling.
I guess maybe I identify with this culture?
The first time, I just liked the feel of the place and I enjoyed the attitude of the people. I also thought the city was absolutely stunning (the cheaper cost of everything in comparison to Spain helps a bit too)
It’s kind of the same thing ~ but I’ll admit I was actually also so sad to leave Granada in Spain because I unexpectedly went there and fell in love with the city as well. It’s such a shame because I didn’t give myself enough time to properly enjoy Granada (I only had one day). I really regretted booking my transport so far in advance from Spain because I finally met some amazing locals, started to really enjoy the food and was falling in love with the feel of the city.
But then…when I returned to Lisboa ~ things got even better.
All the past feelings I had when I first visited came back to me.
I was worried that I had this skewed romanticized image and expectation of Lisbon. I was worried it wouldn’t be as great as I remembered it to be but as soon as I stepped foot on Lisbon-land, I felt a breath of fresh air and a weight lifted off my shoulder. For some reason, the stress I felt in Spain (ESPECIALLY in Barcelona) completely disappeared…and I started feeling happy and motivated again.
Bubbly Mei started to come back (and I hadn’t felt this way in months!)
Maybe it’s because I just don’t like big cities anymore and Lisboa has that feel of a small city?
Maybe it’s because Lisboa is by the sea?
Maybe it’s the familiarity of the Brazilian culture and people here?
Even though I’ve experiencing a failed holiday romance and had so many issues with sleep and accommodation (I’ve had to move every single day to a new hostel and can’t seem to find a single host here), I am so happy here and am at so much ease. I think that really says something about this place ~ I still am madly in love despite dealing with things that ordinarily dampen a person’s experience.
I’m not entirely sure what draws me into this place as much as it does but there’s definitely something about Lisboa.
I love that when I walk around, I see nothing but beauty. Every single building is incredible. I feel like the whole city is so colourful and tiled. It’s almost like the whole city is like a hipster’s paradise ~ all my favourite places in the world are a little bit grungy, pretty and with a little bit of character and lots of art. Lisboa is definitely like this. And despite how tiring it gets to walk around, I also love that this city is so hilly – there are so many beautiful roads and viewpoints here. There’s something about hilly/mountainous cities which steal my heart.
I also really love the Portuguese language and the people here ~ they are so chilled and have a good sense of humour. I am really enjoying that they don’t have this arrogant feel about them. They just get on with their life in a humble way. They are friendly. They are relaxed.