I’ve started this blog with the intention of writing this after every month in each city. However despite writing most of this whilst in Lisbon. I find I’m finally publishing it after Belgrade. Only a month late oops! Just shows don’t expect my blog posts to be frequent or on time…
Lisbon has been one of the busiest and quickest months I have ever had in my life. Fortunately I can say that for good reasons rather than bad, So much has happened in the first month of Remote year. Places visited, food ate, beers drank, laughter and did I mention beers?
Saying that though the first day didn’t go quite to plan. Due to the massive thunderstorms the night before Stansted airport was in chaos and low and behold my flight was delayed. It didn’t seem like a good omen at the time however talking to other remotes about their delays made me feel fortunate that I didn’t have it much worse…
So Lisbon is one of those cities that always wanted to visit but never reached the top of list. How wrong of me. Lisbon is such a beautiful picturesque city with lots of friendly Portuguese people and where everyone mostly speaks English. The major downside of Lisbon is the hills. Living in London last 8 years I’ve been used to walking everywhere but the hills and the slippery tiled pavements proved somewhat of a challenge. I’m surprised more of us didn’t fall over on the slippery surfaces.
Lisbon had an interesting history with most of the city being destroyed in a huge earthquake in 1748???? This meant there is actually not much older in the city than this date despite the city being founded before Rome was.
There are number of neighborhoods within a short walk of the center of Lisbon. Alfama which is one of the oldest in Lisbon and has many winding alleyways. Barrio Alto which is bar central with 100s of bars along its small streets. Bica which was party central for the month of June (for my sleep I’m glad I wasn’t living there). I feel after leaving I should have visited more and gotten out more but I can always come back and explore more.
As part of this year I heard about how great one second a day videos are going to be to help document the year day by day. I’ve slightly skewed it by keep going over 1 second for certain days but has been a great way of showing what I’m getting up to do day to day. Here is month one:
Highlights of Lisbon
In Lisbon has a huge street food/drinks market owned by Timeout. Timeout manages the street food sellers in this market so that there is always a high standard of food. If standard of a particular place drops there are not allowed to continue in the market and Timeout would invite a new stall to open in the market. We also did a track event here where we cooked a lunch led by a local chef. The lunch itself was pretty basic but was delicious!
June in Lisbon is festival of the Saints which basically means the Portuguese party for a whole month which is a great way for our Remote year group to start hanging out as there is always a party going on somewhere. The main festival day is San Antonio which was on June 14th. This is where the Portuguese party all night long. The group I was with managed to last until after 5am but the Portuguese were going on for much longer than that.
As mentioned on my initial blog there were track events and one of the main track events this month was called West Coast Best Coast. Essentially we were picked up in Jeeps and taken around the Sintra peninsula. Hanging out in Portuguese jeeps dancing and drinking all day, being dropping off at beaches can be considered such a great day. I can totally see why people say this is one of the best Remote Year track events.
I haven’t felt pressed to do many side trips whilst here as Europe is so close. However I couldn’t resist just a couple of trips this month though.
Managed to visit Porto for a might 24ish hours. Porto is a beautiful city and sitting on the riverside is great although I feel after only 24 hours I’ve seen the city already and anymore time spent there would be going to the wineries and a drinking more Port. Porto actually seemed a quieter city to Lisbon although might be down to Festival of the Saints. It’s a shame though didn’t get back to celebrate their festival which is night of June 23rd. On the plus side though I managed to catch up with Dave and enjoy food and quite a few beverages.
The last weekend of our time in Portugal we ventured down to Faro/Lagos for a night. It was a whirlwind visit which resulted in trying out what has been voted the best burger in the world. Fortunately managed to find some time for the beach and chilling by our pool and of course drinking until the early hours. However in hindsight the trip wasn’t probably the best idea as being one of the drivers I was knackered by the end of it.
Remote Year People
Well now I have met 39 great people that I am going to spend 12 months with. It’s hard to think looking back that I have only know these people a matter of weeks. However when together in shared situation like traveling we have all gotten on like a house on fire. I can happily say already I have made friends for life.
One of the things that Remote year talk about is the ups and downs of the trip. There are going to be several ups of great times and laughter. However they are also coupled with down points as well. I was surprised my first down point actually happened in the second week. Whilst everyone was enjoying track events I was working all hours at the start of the week. However that down point was then coupled with some great up points at the end of the week. So just shows you deal with the down points this isn’t just one big holiday there are going to be some hard days of just working ahead of me.