Monday, December 26, 2011

The treat of Lisboa (Lisbon)

Links to some previous travels: Brittany, Provence, US

It has been long since I have written any travelogue so thought of sharing some moments from my trip this year to Lisbon, Portugal. I had always wanted to visit this country for reasons I myself don't understand. There had always been this magnetic pull from this land for me which sometimes I found weird. No where else in Europe had this longing to visit a land for me as high as for Portugal. I don't know if it was because of the good looking Portugese girl, Aurelia I saw in the movie Love Actually or whether I had accompanied Vasco De Gama on his voyage to India in my last life. But unfortunately, for the last 6 years, for one reason or the other my travel plans to Portugal never materialized. Sometime the ticket was too expensive, sometime the weather was not optimal, sometime I did not had the free time etc. But early this year when I saw an offer from Lufthansa for just 99 Euros to Lisbon, I instantly booked the tickets without thinking twice. Usually, the price had been around 300 Euros whenever I used to check. I even approved my vacations after booking the tickets, which is not typical me. I was happy that this time that I am surely going to make it to Portugal !

Only later did I realized that it could be quite boring if I go alone so I started asking some friends around if they were interested in joining me. Now, the problem was that most of them are married so they tend to think twice before going with a single guy. Sometimes their spouses think that they might get bored without a similar feminine company. So, it was tough but I finally found some friends willing to join me on a condition that I plan the tour. What could be better than that ! I was super excited and started planning for the trip like which day to spend visiting what, accommodations and other logistics. All the travel sites were explored, books read, forums investigated to chalk out the complete plan. At the same time making sure that I don't see any travel pictures. The charm and excitement of seeing the new place is lost for me if I have already seen it somewhere extensively in pictures. But just a week before leaving, my friends had an emergency and had to drop the plan. They even lost the ticket money since it was non refundable. So, now I was left all alone to visit Lisbon. I even reached a point where I was just about to cancel my tickets as well since I did not wanted to travel alone. But somehow the pull from Lisbon was stronger than my anxiety to travel alone. I thought if not this time then never again. So, I kept to the plan and decided to go alone, something I never did before. I was all in for a new experience.

So, one fine in the July of 2011, I landed in Lisbon for a trip of 4 days. I agree it was not enough but that is all that I had in hand. I took the bus for my hotel which dang in the heart of Lisbon. The weather was pretty warm at around 30C but it did not bothered me much. On the way to the city center, the houses on the outskirts of the city gave me this Goan feeling. But as we went deeper into the center, I will put it bluntly, I could see that people were not that well off nor did the city as compared to their neighbors in central Europe. But with all the excitement of being in Lisbon, such thoughts took backstage. I was more looking forward to what Lisbon had stored in for me.

And boy, I was not disappointed. I think it was one of the most memorable trips for me. It was not just Lisbon's charm or its rich architectural treats ranging from Romanesque to Manueline to Super Modern or its Fado music or its cherry Ginjinho or its glazing Azulejas tiles or its trademark Tram 28, or its Oceanario aquarium or its pastries in Belem or its labyrinth-like Alfama or even Vasco de Gama's voyages, what hit upon me, were the people of Lisbon. I had never experienced so much warmth by people anywhere else in the world. Or maybe I was just plan lucky to get back with some awesome memories of its people.


I will share some memories of the trip in the coming days of course with some lovely pics of Lisbon :)

10 comments:

gardenerat60 said...

This is one country we do not know much about, except if you are from Goa.
Looking forward to your experiences.

Gayatri said...

I've always wanted to go there. Looking forward to those photos.

Purba said...

Writing a travelogue is always tough. You don't want to bore your readers with a post that reads like a post. It has to sensory.

Waiting for the next part :)

the.orchestra.of.life said...

I will give it a shot, though not very good at it

TheBluntBlogger said...

Best trips are travelled alone...my first trip to USA was one such...short and lonely but i loved it and still cherish the most...

am glad you finally travelled to Lisbon...:-)

TheBluntBlogger said...

I read Purba's comment...I actually loved your style...unlike typical travel blogs and hence I loved the read....

the.orchestra.of.life said...

Thanks for the compliments BluntBlogger ... quite motivated by your comments :)

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

You actually made this travelogue (or the beginning of it) very interesting.

Pl tell about the pic in the post. It shows a wall and I can see the text in Hindi and other languages... good to see it... Do tell what's it about?

RESTLESS

the.orchestra.of.life said...

Restless - The city promotes itself by that slogan - Lisbon, city of tolerance. It is written at a place which has a sad history of butchering slaves in the past.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Oh is that? din't know these facts....