After an amazing week in Berlin getting to know a whole new world I traveled to Portugal. I was expecting this strong contrast between totalitarianism and libertarianism between both countries. However, it was not that black and white.
In Germany I experienced freedom, while in Portugal I experienced beauty and love.
“Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in” — American Beauty
Once we arrived in Portugal we headed towards Lagos. We had been booked in a surf house. The premise of a surf house was quite interesting. You sleep with other fellow surfers in hostel-like accommodations and every morning you go out to surf.
I found surfing to be a great analogy to life itself. In order to learn how to surf, you first must practice your technique on the shore. You visualize every moment. The wave hitting your board, the ocean pulsating underneath you, the water stinging your eyes.
After practicing over and over again, you head towards the ocean and wait for the right moment to apply what you learned.
Looking at the horizon you wait for the perfect wave and finally, in that split second, you try. You may fail, you may wipe out, however you keep trying until you are satisfied.
Following the surf lessons our instructors would go over the footage they filmed and point out flaws or mistakes we did so we could learn from them.
Surfing allowed me to be close to one of the things I love most in life…the ocean. It also showed me to never give up and keep trying. You will keep getting pushed out into the shore but you must get back on the board and catch that wave.
Lagos itself was breathtaking. The beaches were gorgeous and the water transparent. The rock formation on the ocean made it seem like I was in another world.
Once we left Lagos we headed towards Lisbon.
In Lisbon we visited a magical place called Sintra. It is hard to describe a place like Sintra. It is surrounded by nature, castles and has its own micro ecosystem.
Once we arrived, there was a fog that took over the whole city but you could still see the castles up the mountain surrounded by trees. It was a scene out of a fairy tale.
All I could think about while being in Sintra was what it may have been to be born in a place as magical as that. We explored many of the common tourist attractions and every one was more beautiful than the one before. It felt for once in history human civilization and nature struck a perfect balance, and the name of that balance: Sintra.
After returning to Lisbon from Sintra I met a wonderful person named Ana. She was born in Portugal and she showed me around her city. We would jumped on a subway and travel to one part of the city and then jump on the subway again and see another part.
“I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.” — American Beauty
One of these times, she grabbed my hand and asks me to close my eyes. Naturally, I was scared as walking in a foreign country with your eyes closed was not common for me. She guided me through a street and an intersection for what it feels like an eternity, finally she asks me to open my eyes.
It was a view of a garden maze with a view of all of Lisbon for me to take in.
Portugal showed me love, Berlin showed me freedom and I can’t wait for what comes next.