It’s a pleasure waking up with you. Sitting up straight in my hostel bunk and rubbing the sleep from my eyes. A breeze floats through the window, the clicking sound of women walking to work in heels echoes throughout the dorm.
Breakfast here equates to dark shots of espresso and pastries. I hunt down a café with a table outside, sipping my tiny coffee and watching people walk by. The city wakes up as the sun creeps up the blue sky. Tourists with cameras around their necks jump in line to take the tram around the city. Groups of teenagers lean against rails, clapping hands and catching up, school is out for the season.
Everything in Lisbon feels a little slower. I spend my days walking through the city, in search of the best views. The walk is half the fun, wandering through small alleyways, stumbling upon little hidden cafes and talking to older women selling shots of ginjinha in front of their homes. If I’m lucky someone starts playing guitar from their terrace, adding the perfect soundtrack to my day.
Looking up all the buildings are covered with streamers from a festival that happened months ago. A local told me they leave them up until the weather takes them down. The city is happier when it’s decorated, she said. I couldn’t help but agree.
A day can be spent wandering through Alfama, the old part of town. Past old fado bars and through open air markets. A quick trip to the train station will take you anywhere you need to go. To Belém, passing by the pink palace to dip your toes in the water. To Sintra, covered in colorful castles and beautiful gardens. A breathtaking view from every corner. Down to the beach, laying on a towel in the hot sand, jumping into the frigid Atlantic Ocean, the water taking your breath away.
You would swear that Lisbon is a small town, but the never ending twists and turns through the city remind you otherwise. I spent the nights sipping on sangria in the garden out back of my hostel, meeting people from all over the world and speaking in a mixture of Spanish, English and the Portuguese I picked up on along the way. Lisbon made me feel free in the kind of way I’ve never felt before. Like I was at home, even when I was thousands of miles away.
Thank you Lisbon for the six blissful days I spent exploring you. It may have been short, but I’ll be forever waiting until the next time I get to visit you.