lisbon, portugal: reflection
Here are a few random reflections of the highs and lows, the things I did and loved and some of what I learned over the first few days of my trip. I am finding it difficult to do justice to all I am feeling and thinking in my head but am trying :).
- My first hostel experience. I stayed at Yes! hostel- highly recommended. It's been voted the "Best Hostel in the World" multiple times so my bar was set high :). I met so many amazing people here! We had a 10 euro dinner every night (unlimited drinks and great vegetarian options). We stayed talking for hours and I loved being surrounded by so many warm and friendly souls from so many different places.
- Going out to eat alone! I've done this many times before, however, it has an even greater meaning when in a new place with a new language! My friend Elena recommended to me her friend's restaurant Pistola y Corazon Taqueria (it was amazing, I loved it). There was a 30-45 min wait for couples but being alone I snuck into a booth my the bar and "ate" with the bartender- yay.
- Sunset under the "Golden Gate Bridge!!" It looked, felt, smelled so much like home!!! I learned that the Lisbon bridge was built by the same architect as the San Francisco bridge but 30 years later!
- Time Out Market: all of the best food, drinks, dessert, etc. in market fashion. Markets are one of my favorite things to do in new cities and this was no different! I went twice. My first day where I cried (first time in awhile so it felt great and needed!) and the second day where I hopped around trying different Portuguese foods. Needless to say, was great perspective to see how much moods and the mind can change.
- LX Factory: coolest design, style, ever. Best libraries, bars, shops, etc. located under the bridge.
- Fado music: Portuguese tradition! I went with a few people from my hostel to a dive bar the hostel recommended. The music is supposed to be super depressing but ours was a bit chipper than expected. The walls were covered with photos of singers and bar-goers and we later learned the most famous Portuguese Fado singer was at the bar returning to her roots! SO cool!
- Day trips: one day I went to Belem (1st photo on the left is the monastery there and it was SO beautiful! the 2nd photo is the statue to honor those that discovered the sea! It is incredible how much Portugal discovered so early on with so few resources! My favorite explorer is the one with the art palette :) Another day I went to Sintra (30 min outside the city)- 3rd picture is a castle in Sintra. I ran into some people from my hostel on the bus there, which was great! We had a very foggy day but I loved it!
- The VIBE, the PEOPLE, the ENERGY of Lisbon! There are no words to describe how much this city means to me. I'm not sure if it's because of it's resemblance to San Francisco, it's meaning of being the first stop on my trip, etc, but the overall feeling was so homey to me. The weather, the colors of the houses, the hills, the street art and music, the old meeting the new, the architecture, design, style, font. Everything came together so incredibly and left such a lasting impression on me.
Learning, learning, learning!!! So much learning. Here are a few things I jotted down along the way:
- First time I realized my dream came true
- The freedom of not having a plan and following your heart
- The incredibly painful and empowering experience of being so alone
- The satisfaction of getting lost and figuring it out... or not!
- Walking aimlessly is the best way for me to meditate and think
- Laughing with strangers on the streets (universal language)
- Learning pieces of a new language... or not :) but trying!!
- Even as an extrovert who thrives off of being around people, I was nervous at first! Once I put myself out there and realized how everyone else was in a similar position to me, I had so much fun and was so excited to meet more and more people everywhere!!! So much to be gained from putting ourselves out there!
- Being so alone enabled me to focus on my surroundings- observing what is around me and developing new perspectives and inspirations
- Letting go of the past and focusing on the present!!!
- Taking one day, one step at a time
- Limiting expectations and seeing what happens (without a plan, the possibilities are endless!!!)
- It is okay to be sad or anxious even if you are in a beautiful place!!! Working on letting those thoughts pass by rather than giving them power
- The importance of documentation as things are changing so fast!
And with that, my first city, down! Thank you for following along!!!