Week 9

The one where she warmed up to Portugal

Lisboa is a really interesting place, especially after coming from Prague. As much as Prague was organized, clean, efficient, and put together, Lisbon is the exact opposite. I’ve often found myself describing it to friends as contained chaos. The people are loud, gregarious and emotional, the streets are a disorganized mess of twists and turns, stairs and hills; the public transportation doesn’t seem to adhere to any posted schedule and the city just seems to have this incredible energy and life about it. Prague seemed very livable, Lisbon seems like a great place to visit…at least that’s the impression I’ve gotten so far.

What I did this week:

  • Got acquainted with our apartment’s rooster.. yes, we have a rooster. We’ve named him Joaquín, and he’s just SO attentive at making sure we get up at 5:00am..and 7:00am..and 9:00am..and 11:00am..and 1:00pm.. truly very considerate. We thank him each day.
  • Went to our city preview on Monday morning in Lisbon’s City Hall. It was about as fancy as you would expect from a city older than Rome.

Full of leather-bound books and smelling of rich mahogany.

  • Went to lunch with a bunch of remotes at TimeOut Market, this really awesome lunch/dinner spot. Think Chelsea Market meets Eataly meets a mall food court… with all of the yummiest restaurants in Lisbon. We then set out to explore the city for the rest of the day (Memorial Day, word up!).

Our exploration krew!

The arch off of Praça do Comércio, the largest square in Europe. Some think it was built to show the wealth of Portugal and welcome people to Lisbon but It was literally built because it’s pretty #typicalportugal

Found Pop Cereal Café which has CEREAL FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD! And you can mix cereals and make ice cream cereal sundaes and anything else your little diabetic heart desires

  • FINALLY found some green space (all the “parks” here seem to be paved- a real change/downgrade from Prague), and plopped down for a nap and some handstand sessions.
  • Gorged ourselves on Indian food for dinner. We decided to try an Indian restaurant that was recommended by one of the Balboa girls (the group here before us). She said it was the best Indian food she’s had since being home in India and that was honestly all the convincing I needed.

Can I just tell you guys, OH. MY. GOD. I’ve been to countless Indian restaurants in my life- heck my family had Indian takeout more than pizza and chinese combined- but nothing I’ve ever eaten has been as good as this. Just writing about it right now has me salivating. I will be back. Many times.

Get in my belllayyyyy

  • Got my surf on at Carcavelos beach on Thursday morning. It was maybe my third time(?) on a surfboard but I got up on my first try and continued to krush it throughout the morning. The instructors were awesome and super encouraging- they ended up putting me on three different boards so I could experience how different sizes and materials felt. #epoxy4lyfe

*caution* I’m not responsible for any blindness this photo may cause

A random tall ship decided to sail by when we were finishing up #portugal

  • Kept on my healthy food game with some delicious (but well portioned) tacos and started making my own salads for lunch.

Easily the best Mexican place in Lisboa. And it’s right down the street from us- aka the definition of Danarous

  • Joined my program leader Jen and our experience manager Gonçalo for a wine night out that quickly devolved into hanging out in the festival crowds around Bica, my neighborhood. We actually ended up coming across other remotes and our group became this amorphous mass of people coming and going. A delightful time was had by all.

Gonçalo, our experience manager, rocking the Lacoste fanny pack. #getit

Brace yourself, festival pics are coming

A normal night in Bica, my neighborhood

Not sure how but somehow we ended up at a club… I didn’t stay long. #tooold

  • Beached it on Saturday with the small group who didn’t go on the side-trip up to Porto. Medhi and I got there before anyone else and got off a stop early on the train so we could walk up the coast and explore each of the 9 beaches before choosing one.

Right to the left of this photo were surfers catching some serious waves. They got out of the water at one point and we realized they were like 11 years old  -__-

Street art is everywhere. This one seemed 100% appropriate for the beach

Each beach and street has these little pillars with the location name hand painted on tile

When you pass a pseudo-castle on the way to the beach #europelife

Taught Eric some acro on the beach!

  • Walked out to Cascais (pronounced cass-kai-shh, because literally nothing in Portugese is pronounced the way it’s spelled), for dinner and sunset with the gang. Cascais is Lisbon’s local beach town and it has a completely different vibe- it’s flat (hallelujah!), super chill and feels more like a village.

Gosh darn if that isn’t a good-looking group

The sun setting over Cascais’ harbor

  • Had a relaxing Sunday exploring a different part of the city with Chloe. It was so great to walk around the city with another creative mind. Being able to take in the textures and colors and layers of abstraction that exist here with someone else who understands and appreciates them was a wonderful and completely relaxing feeling.

Only in Portugal do you paint a basilica bright yellow

  • Stumbled across an arts and crafts fair going on in a big park and ended up purchasing two delicate little wrap bracelets #treatyoself
  • Plopped our booties down to enjoy some live Portuguese music over a cappuccino and some “toasties” with the locals.

Is this child not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

  • Eased myself into bed Sunday night thinking that although this city isn’t Prague, it’s not so bad. I’ll give it a chance to prove itself- and I have a feeling it will.