I left Berlin in a rush and arrived in Lisbon in a calm state of mind. That’s me in a nutshell: balancing chaos and calm.
After a delayed arrival – no worries! calm mind – I took the metro to my Airbnb and then meandered into the city, where I knew no Portuguese. I didn’t have any problem, but I like to know simple things like “ola” (hello), “fala ingles?” (do you speak English?), and “obrigado” (thank you). Almost everyone speaks English, so once I learned these quick phrases, all parties seemed comfortable in the rest of my interactions.
I wrote this much (above) on April 26, then abandoned the draft post while I began my yoga teacher training. Rather than try to recall thoughts from a month ago, I’ll close with some notes out of my notebook and photos of Lisboa.
- Beautiful buildings. City blends well into the landscape.
- Not much nature. Monsanto was beautiful.
- Friendly people. Wonder if they’re hiding a struggle. My tour guide described post-Fascism fear of authority and recommended a book, Dancing Bear.
- Tons of sunlight. Fast rainstorms.
- Affordable, but not cheap. Suffering economically.
- Wonder if they can preserve their culture while welcoming tourists:
- — overemphasis of pasteis de nata
- — farce of selling tinned fish
- — tiles are functional (insulating) as much as decorative
- Train from airport
- Walked through Bairro Alto, Baija, and Chiado neighborhoods
- Smoothie made by pedaling a bicycle
- Rainbow and concert rehearsal almost made me cry
- Walked along coast in the sunlight
- Into Bairro Alto for dinner, bacalhao (salted cod)
- Run in Parque du Eduardo to Monsanto
- Breakfast at the mill
- Walked to Santa Catarinha Miradouro and into Santos, another fast rainstorm
- Read my yoga anatomy book on a park bench, annoyed by a senile homeless person
- Walked to Praça de Camoes for Sandemann’s walking tour
- Important dates: 1 Nov 1755, an earthquake killed 2/3 of the population (est. 90k people), mostly Arabs and Jews survived in the Alfama neighborhood; 25 April 1974, peaceful revolution ends dictatorship, my tour was the holiday they celebrated 45 years of freedom
- My tour guide, Pascal, took me to a tiny restaurant where he knows the owners, Davíd and Bella. Great food, some from their farm. They struggle to stay open. She’s illiterate. It’s not a well-known place.
- Walked to Alfama. Beautiful live music at the miraduoros, ice cream, poked into shops in Chiado and read my yoga book at a pastelaria
- More live music in the streets by a university “fraternity”