My friend Veronica (you may have read me writting about her on one of my previous post about Norway) and I were both born in April 1981. 2016 has been a special year for both of us, turning 35. 35!! can you believe it? I still feel like a teenager sometimes.
Perhaps because I´m on what I call Erasmus status. I moved to London 3 years and 6 months ago, quit my job in the sunny Barcelona and left my own flat for a no job status, sharing accommodation and cloudy London. Luckily, I found a job after two weeks and a permanent one after 1 month, so not bad.
Anyway, coming back to the main subject, it was going to be a special birthday. So we decided to go for a weekend getaway. Where? It didn´t really matter. We just wanted to spend some time together. These are the best things about life: spending time with the people you love. So we based our decision on price. The cheapest tickets we could get. It was Napoli or Lisbon. We went for Lisbon because the timings of the flight was more convenient.
I was there at the airport, when I realised that Lisbon seems to be a stag/hen party destination for Brits. The airplane was full of people dressed up with weird costumes. Even a diver, diving fins included.
My friend Veronica landed and we were ready to discover Lisbon!
We took the underground, the cheapest way to get to Lisbon from the airport and didn´t take us too long to get into our guesthouse House Sao Bento. It is a lovely and cosy guesthouse, you can feel like at home. The rooms and the guesthouse itself are curiously decorated with craft made stuff, having used recycled materials. It is an experience itself. And the location is perfect if you want to be close to the action but in a quiet area.
After a 10 minute walk we were walking through the Barrio Alto and Barrio Baixo streets, la Alfama neighbourhood… It was very lively and vivid. Then we looked around and we felt as we were back in time: the streets were full of little independent butchers, fishmongers, bakeries… no big supermarkets or stores, just as it used to be before, when I was little, in my hometown. Suddenly, loads of memories came back to life in my mind: when I used to go to that little store at the corner of my street to buy a couple of potatoes that my mum needed for lunch. The owner knowing us well, saying “say to your mum that she can pay me next time”. These trustworthy relationships we had. This reminded me of when children used to play on the streets and neither of them or their families would be worried. It was a great time. So different as it is now, and not so long ago. After all, life changes and not always in a positive way. Well, let´s say it´s just different. Now we have big stores with loads of products, all you need is there, easy, convenient. But I really liked when you had to go to buy stuff at different little shops, charming shops, with soul. This soul that you can´t find for instance at Mercadona (and it´s annoying and repeating song… even Adam, my Hungarian friend still remembers the melody, one year after staying in Barcelona for just 5 days).
Said that, I really loved it. And don´t forget to look up at the balconies and you will see the laundry hanging from them. Some doors still open, chairs in the street, in front of the houses, just in case they need an al fresco moment. And then you can hear it, it is not far, someone with a guitar, singing fado. So you follow the music, music that led you to a guy who is singing on his own or surrounded by a small group of people whose were passing by at that specific moment and followed as well as we did the sound of the music. So random and so spontaneous.
Lisbon is a city with loads of surprises and things to discover whilst you wander around.
My tip: don´t plan to much. Just let yourself be free, you will find everything just by following yourself and your senses.
In the meantime, stay around witties!