Remote Year Month #8 in Review: Lisbon

I can’t believe I have now wrapped up my time in Europe. Lisbon was an incredible city to end the experience in, full of culture, captivating beach waves and incredible port close by. I also flew to London and Belfast on two separate occasions; the weekly travel reminded me of consulting travel projects. Below is my month in review of Lisbon. Took a little longer to get together as South America has been a bit of an adjustment (funny as I am originally from here!)

A bit on Lisbon: Full of culture, beautiful architecture, activities to take part in and endless food to try, Lisbon is definitely a place I would recommend visiting and would come back to myself. It is such a safe, warm city that you feel more inclined to be out and about constantly.

Belem: One of my most favourite places this month was Belem. A neighbourhood offering museums, monasteries and the most incredible pasteis de nata (although these are known as pasteis de Belem!) that I tried during my entire stay in Lisbon. I had the chance to visit the art museum (see below for one of the coolest pieces) and enter the monastery. As well, walking around near the water and seeing the Tower of Belem was a great way to spend a Sunday. I ended up lost in the magic of Belem for over 10 hours.

Tile making: As I’ve mentioned before, every month Remote Year curates local experiences for us. This month, one of the most interesting was tile making. The exteriors (and some interiors!) of Lisbon buildings are covered in tiles. These were hand crafted for a long time, used to tell stories of the area’s history, culture and religion. Now, there are factories that have taken over production, however, many ‘special’ projects are still carried out by individuals who have mastered the craft. We had the opportunity to learn from one of these women.

Fado: A traditional musical art form born out of Lisbon, where individuals sing about their life experiences, usually focused on Tragedy. Our group had the opportunity to take part in a Fado show curated by a local guide. We learned that one does not talk or order food while the singing is going on. There are breaks between the music so people can socialize and get drinks and snacks. I went to see Fado again at Camel, a winery in Porto. That said, very hard to take pictures since it was so dark, so none here!

Porto: What an experience. Prior to going, I didn’t know that the vineyards are not within Porto, but located 100km+ away, in the Duoro region. The grapes are grown there, harvested and the port wines are then transported to Porto, where they are aged depending on the expected quality of the harvest. I visited a number of Port wineries, and fell in love with the Largima, white port, which has a caramel-like colour and taste.

London: A friend and I went to London to do a presentation to a university there, as well as to visit the city and some of his friends and family. My most recent time in London prior to this, had been for a Deloitte project in March 2017. It was so different going as more of a tourist than a business person. I saw a number of new areas I didn’t know existed and gained a new appreciation for the city.

Belfast: Year ago, while on exchange at Queen’s, I visited Dublin for St. Patty’s Day. That said, my visit was so short I didn’t have an opportunity to see much of what Ireland had to offer. This time, I went back and explored Belfast and its surrounding areas. The colour of the green there is so incredibly bright. Although it rains a lot, the green is such a cheerful colour to be surrounded by!

Workspace: This month we had a Remote-year owned workspace. There are some places where Remote Year sets us up at local co-working spaces and others where they have built their own. The best part about this workspace was the open roof, where we could sit for lunch and also host evening workshops.

Yom Kippur: This was my first time doing the Yom Kippur fast away from Canada! Another individual in my group and I reached out to a synagogue ahead of time, got tickets for the High Holidays, and took part in their services. It was quite a unique opportunity to do something I’ve done for years in a new way. We also broke the fast with a pasteis de nata!