gubster's Diaryland Diary



Portugal 2008

My trip to Lisbon had a wobbly start. I had a 4 hour wait at the airport, thus I was stuck on a plane full of merry singing drunken Brits. It was like being on a bus to a football match. Joy! I was happy when I landed. I love having a brand new city full of fresh things to delight my mind. It was only a teasing taste but it’s not Birmingham so anything is a bonus. So, me, an Italian, and a Canadian who all met in Holland began our assault on Portugal.

What a treasure the city is, every narrow cobbled street holds a new sparkling gem, the tiled terrace houses, the balconies, the washing lines stretched out across the houses, smiley kids playing on the streets, carefree, the little dark cafes with the obligatory knowledgeable auldies sitting inside, secret, dark and aloof, the impromptu singing, the free wine, the strawberries, trams on impossible narrow and steep streets (reminded me briefly of San Fran.) But over all besides the usual things that strike the tourist, the obvious differences, like the way the houses are thrown together at odd angles along the hills of Lisbon, the bridges, the glowing sun that bleaches everything to look older than it probably is, the sea, that yellow/orange colour everything is painted….etc…besides all this, it is that relaxed slow pace of life and how calm everything is that I loved the most. Having a ‘local’ to show us about was probably where this feeling came from but as I looked at the tourists with there maps and cameras I thought that’s usually me. Generally I would know the street names, have a list of 10 things I wanted to do, it would usually be me staring at a map and busy trying to get somewhere instead of looking at where I was.

In a place like Lisbon, its not so much the hot spots you want to see, the Oceanarium, Bairro Alto, Tram 28, the modern art museum, the castle, the churches and cathedrals (although these are great) … its the everyday, the common place the corner shops that look like they are from the 1950’s with wooden crates of orange at the door, the orange trees just laden with fruit along the streets, lovely and exotic, the people cooking meat on grills on the street , the old men and women sitting in there balconies, them looking at us, us looking at them , it was these small things I loved the most, and for once I came away from a new country and I can not tell you one thing I learnt about its history or geography, I don’t remember the quarters or street names I visited, I can’t tell u where I was on the map but I will remember the fun, the sun, the laughter , climbing orange trees, the bubbles, the wine, the sangria and the bright relaxed happy feeling that comes with it all……………

6:45 p.m. - 2008-05-11


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