Alright. Guess who is on the ball today. I am currently in Lisbon, updating you on Lisbon. Aren’t you proud? You should be. I’m awfully impressed with myself honestly.
I sit in my hostel lobby, shouldered by two other furiously typing travelers. The mood is light, the couch is comfy, the receptionists are smiley, and the music is Bonnie Tylers “I Need a Hero.” Not a bad place to be, really. I’m updating you early because this will be a long one. I have much too much to say, and an already spotty memory, so bear with me.
I have been in Lisbon for 8 nights (9 days). 6 of those nights were at a hostel called Oasis Backpackers Mansion, the other 2 were at a hostel called Yes! Lisbon. So I’m going to sectionalize this a bit for you. Part 1 – Oasis, Part 2 – Oasis with Tabea, Part 3 – Yes!
Part 1 – How I Fell in Love with Lisbon
I stepped off my bus in Lisbon at 5:30 in the morning. That darn time difference between Spain and Portugal fucked me over, cause the metro didn’t open until 6:30. Thankfully though, I was with my newly made Canadian friends from Madrid and we all shivered in the cold together. After working our way through the metro, we parted ways and I made my way up the hill to Oasis.
Upon entering, I met Henry, a 20-something philosophy graduate from England. A word about Henry, because I spent a while with him during those 6 days. He is possibly the most passionate man I’ve ever met. Everything he does is with intensity. The amount of poetry, singing, dancing, writing, preaching, pondering, questioning, thriving he does in a day is far beyond anything I’ve experienced. His passion for life is inspiring.
I proceeded to meet, greet and grow to love the entire staff at Oasis. Guilia, Henry, Nad’a, Jasmine, Douglas, Vini, Alex, Camilla, and everyone else. They are amazing. I have never felt more of a family in a hostel than I did in Oasis. I met some phenomenal people there as well. Andre, the South African restaurant manager who ran into the street to trade a hat with a random guy walking by. Simon from Germany, who taught himself how to play blues guitar like a pro. Lydia, a lovely austrian girl who had just finished the El Camino. Thomas, the Danish journalist, who was eager to transition to better forms of long term event journalism. JC, a San Fran native who kept extending his stay, partied way too late, and gave us 20 year olds a run for our money.Brian, a Utah born geology major studying in Barcelona, who spent his life cracking jokes at us. Atul and Jenia, the MBA students studying in Paris, whom took off for the weekend. Israeli native, Jenia, taught me, unsuccessfully, to salsa dance. Atul blew me away with his indescribable storytelling. Bram and Benji, the brothers from Oxford, were touring the coastline looking for jobs and making fun of my vegetable eating habits. And lastly Alex, the most infectious and charming human being I’ve ever met. I’m not sure if I want to be him, or be with him, but I do know I need that kind of person in my life.
During this first part, I walked the entire city, took pictures of everything, went pub crawling too hard, went to a vintage style club thing, went to THE MOST AMAZING CONCERT – TANK AND THE BANGAS, ate too many vegetables, and grew so incredibly fond of Lisbon that I stayed much longer than I hoped to.
Part 2 – Enter the Kiwis
It was at this point that Tabea met up with me. I love Tabea to death, and the more time I spend with her, the more fond of her I grow. When I saw her coming down the hill, I literally sprinted outside to hug her. She is amazing. We went flea marketing together and ended up meeting Ed, Richard and Tom. Ed, an aussie, is a total and complete stoner, but a really good time. Richard, a kiwi who just spent the last while in Morocco, is possibly one of the most weird people I’ve ever met. (The tracksuits do not suit him as well as he thinks they do.) And then Tom, another Aussie, who is possibly one of the kindest people I’ve talked to in a long time. He is great. We celebrated his birthday one night with a round table of shots and absynthe. I’m not sure if he was too impressed or not.
During the time with the kiwis (and aussies), I attended an incredible live samba session at a club near the water, took a ferry and bus to the beach, and ate wayy too many kabobs. (Side note – on the way back from the beach, Tabea and I climbed the stairs into the ferry and ran into Bruno, a brazilian guy we met in a hostel in Florence who had a short half-day layover before heading back to Brazil and just so happened to be on the ferry with us. Crazy right?) We also had an incredible time together. I love those people.
Part 3 – Solo Once Again (Kind Of)
Tabea, Tom and Richard headed north to a beach town to go surfing, get a tan, and relax from the drinking for a day or two. I, on the other hand, stayed in lisbon, eager to see what else it had to offer. It was at this point that I moved over to Yes! Hostel.
I cannot say enough how much I love this hostel. Prime location, prime people, prime dinner, and really really prime open bar. Duarte and Pedro made my day. The music was prime (still is) and the experiences I had here were great too.
It was at this hostel that I met up with Steve again. You remember Steve, right? He’s a common character in this story. Unfortunately, Steve headed north and is then off to Chicago for Thanksgiving, so he might be missing for a bit.
Steve is a good time though. He’s relatively hilarious and puts up with my shit, so we have a good time. We wandered our way to Belem to see the tower, eat tooooo many natas, and question how you’re actually supposed to pronounce Magellan. We then went to the LX Factory (which is amazing btw), had a beer, and made our way back for happy hour. We’ve gotten really really good at timing our activities around happy hour.
It was here that I met some really great italians, a hilarious couple of german girls, and Ryan, a floridian stationed in Germany through the air force. I only mention Ryan by name because I have no doubt he will come up again when I make it to Germany. I also met an Aussie on the street who I had dinner and watched the sunset with. His name was James.
Part 4 – A Surprise Addition
I lied about there only being 3 parts. There are now 4. Yesterday, I went to a place called Sintra. Sintra is the most amazing town. It honestly looks like Narnia. It’s magical. Go look it up if you don’t believe me. I went with Steve, who fell asleep on the train, both ways. We tuk-tuk-ed our way up and down the mountain, desperately trying to reach the sunset before the light faded. It was such a good time. If you ever find yourself around Lisbon, take a day trip to Sintra. It’s worth it.
Okay. I’m going to finish now, because I’ll just keep talking if not. I’m headed on a bus tonight to Seville, and will try and keep updating you. Huge thanks to whoever is out there, listening, reading, waiting, wondering, following, dreaming, etc. I love you much.