Lisboa By Yourself

Although Lisbon wasn’t my favorite European city, it was definitely one of the greatest adventures I have ever had.

For the first time ever I was traveling completely by myself. There was something magical about being completely alone, in a foreign city, without no phone or internet access. Isolated from the rest of my known world. Surrounded only by strangers; the homeless who wandered the streets, the waitress at dinner, the receptionist at my hostel, the tourists on the streets around me – nothing was familiar, nothing known, and everything new. This was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.

Traveling alone, disconnected from technology, felt liberating. An instant flash-back into the past. Before texting. Before facebook and twitter. Before technology allowed you to track your friends’ every move. Where the only people you talked to were those around you. In our modern world, this feeling is rare. Rare, but addicting.

Hiking up and down Lisbon’s slopes, I admired the street graffiti and took in marvelous views of the Atlantic ocean…

I watched Spain beat Italy in the 2012 European Cup. I ate Portuguese ‘bacalhau’ (cod) as bruschetta, whole, grilled, with potatoes, and even the traditional ‘bras’ style, scrambled with eggs and potato as a hash.

I hopped on a train, making a day trip to Sintra and Cascais, two lovely costal towns with their share of beautiful beaches and cobbled streets.

What made my time here most memorable, were some amazing fellow travelers I met. Aleksander and Kristina, a brother and sister from Sweden, living in Barcelona and traveling to Portugal on their time off of work. A German woman who spent two weeks surfing Portugal’s beaches on holiday from a cruise ship job where she gets to explore the world of elderly tourism through her video camera. Veronica, another German woman, who was contemplating a career change and in the meantime, escaping to Portugal for a week of vacation. I shared meals, drinks, and many laughs with my new friends.

Nightlife in Lisbon was anything but calm. At night, the streets of Barrio Alto come alive. Starting with dinner, the restaurants fill with locals and tourists alike, all looking for a delicious meal. Once midnight comes, the streets fill with men, women, and booze. People dancing, mingling, and drinking till the sun comes up. Literally. The Swedes and I stayed out until it was time to wake up and explore, making for a very lazy last day in Portugal. I must admit… it was well worth it!

A perfect way to end my two month journey, Lisbon marks the beginning of a new chapter for me: traveling alone. I cannot wait until I get to test my limits and embark on even more adventures, completely on my own.

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