Lisbon: We Walked HOW Far?

I know it’s been a while since I actually went to Lisbon, but hey, better late than never, right? Since breaking up my travel posts worked out so well for my Scotland trip, I plan to do the same with my Lisbon trip. Check out parts ONE and THREE!


Saturday in Lisbon was one for the books. To put it simply, Kelsey and I estimated we walked about ten miles that day alone. A lot of it being up and downhill. As someone recovering from the worst blisters in her entire life, it was difficult. But it was so, so worth it for the stuff we got to see.

We got up pretty early in the morning, to the free breakfast in our hostel. I don’t know what it is with this hostel, but they kept getting better and better. They had waffles, toast, cereal, coffee, panini’s, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, orange juice, tea, and literally so many other breakfast foods. This breakfast was probably better than any hotel breakfast I’d ever eaten. Not to mention the fact that they had nutella on the table for the waffles.

The hostel also offered a free walking tour at 10:30 every morning (seriously if you’re ever in Lisbon stay in this hostel I promise you they’re not paying me to say any of this I really believe it), so we decided to go on that. Even though it had begun to rain and that made the old cobblestone tiled streets even more slick, we thought it would be the best way to see the city.

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Turns out, it was. Our tour guide, Marco, was so great and very personable. Our first stop was literally to just chat and get to know each other. We had to introduce ourselves and give a hint as to what country we were from and everyone had to guess. I said “everyone’s afraid of our next president – even though we don’t know who it will be” and Kelsey said “we really love baseball.” There were probably four or five other Americans on the tour, so we quickly ran out of ideas as to what to say. Not to mention our accents really give us away.

We spent about three hours on the tour, walking around the main part of central Lisbon, trying not to slip on the wet ground and keep up with fast-walking Marco. He spouted off facts about his home country faster than I could talk about my hometown, and we ended our tour at a local flea market. As someone who lives about half an hour from the largest flea market in the Southeastern USA, and the largest indoor flea market in the USA (it’s the same one LOL), this flea market seemed like no big deal. But it was still a really cool market. I actually ended up getting three Christmas presents for people there. There were also huge booths that looked like mini garage sales. I’m not sure why, but that was really interesting to me.

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By the time we left the flea market and got some lunch, it was a few hours until sunset. We wanted to take a train to Belém to make it to Torre de Belém before the sun set. We had to go back to the hostel (I hadn’t brought my jacket with me and we had souvenirs we didn’t want to carry around). My feet were killing me, but I was excited to walk down by the riverside again and watch the sun set over the river.

By the time we made it to Torre de Belém I had to sit down. But the view was breathtaking and almost worth it. We even found a makeshift stand called “wine with a view,” and it is exactly what it sounds like. They sold wine right by the river so you could sit and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun went down. Which is exactly what I did. It really brought the whole evening together.

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How we felt after walking nearly three miles to get there.

We ended up back at TimeOut Market for dinner, and on our walk back, we began to hear really loud music. Assuming we had missed out on a party, we followed the noise to outside a Tezenis store, where a huge stage was set up and there were DJs on a balcony. Staying to see what all the ruckus was about, it turns out we found ourselves in the middle of Rita Ora’s launch of her lingerie line. She was performing a concert at the opening of this store, that she was partnered with, and Kelsey and I stumbled upon it at the exact moment that it was starting. What are the odds?

While I didn’t really know who Rita Ora was (until Kelsey explained to me she had contributed to a bunch of famous songs, including “Black Widow”), it was still really fun to join the crowd and cheer her on and she performed. Not only did we get the chance to see Rita Ora, but we got to hang out at a free concert that we managed to run into. It was so cool.

That night at the hostel was cocktail night, but I opted for a shower and to go to bed early. Once Kelsey and I had discussed exactly how much we think we had walked that day (boy I wish I had had a FitBit for Saturday in Lisbon), I was even more tired than I had previously been. Kelsey was FaceTiming a friend back home at 11:00PM, but I was asleep before she even got back to the room. We were both wiped out from our trek around the city that day.

Overall, Lisbon was a trip I will never forget. Even though I doubted initially if there was going to be anything to do in Lisbon, it was going to be worth it to get to see Kelsey alone. Lisbon was great, but getting to see Kelsey was better. I couldn’t have imagined a better trip with a better person. Only with Kelsey would we accidentally walk ten miles in one day, run into a Rita Ora concert, and plan our future houses based on the media room of the hostel (LOL). At first, it seemed like there wouldn’t be anything that cool to do in Lisbon, it was absolutely one of my favorite trips I’ve taken in my life.

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Thanks for a great weekend, Kels. See ya in December.


lydia.

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Lisbon is for Reunions

I know it’s been a while since I actually went to Lisbon, but hey, better late than never, right? Since breaking up my travel posts worked out so well for my Scotland trip, I plan to do the same with my Lisbon trip. Check out parts TWO and THREE, up later this week!


Over the first weekend of November, I met up with one of my best friends from back at Wofford, who is spending her semester abroad in Granada, Spain: Kelsey! After a lot of confusion in planning our trip and even a change in weekend, we finally decided on Lisbon, Portugal as our destination.

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Kelsey and I posing at Miradouro de Santa Luiza!

I’m not gonna lie, when Kelsey first suggested Lisbon, I was like “really? Lisbon? What’s in Lisbon?” But boy was I wrong. Lisbon is absolutely gorgeous and is chock-full of history. Did you know it is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe? And it was completely destroyed in the 15th century by an earthquake, fire, and tsunami? Talk about an apocalypse. Lisbon was a part of the Roman empire, and is still home to some Roman ruins.

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But without a doubt, the best part about going to Lisbon was getting to see Kelsey. If you know me at all, you know that my friends are incredibly important to me. Being away from them for so long is slowly breaking me, but getting to see Kelsey, even if for a short period of time…it was so, so wonderful.

On Friday, I arrived in Lisbon, navigating my way from the airport to the hostel by myself (Kelsey had arrived before my flight even left London), and honestly – I was super proud of myself. First things first, we had to take a reunion selfie (after the ten minute hug I initiated). Then, after checking into the hostel (Good Morning Hostel – Lisbon, I would highly recommend this hostel if you ever go to Lisbon IT WAS AMAZING), we decided to adventure over to the TimeOut Market. It’s basically a huge food market and had everything we could ever imagine. But of course, these Americans had pizza.

It was getting close to sunset (thanks Daylight Savings Time) when we finished our late lunch, so we ventured uphill (for some reason, Lisbon is SUPER hilly) to Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which essentially means “viewing point.” It was gorgeous. We got some great pictures and were completely blown away by the views. For a while, I was under the impression that we were overlooking the ocean, but I later learned that it was just a river.

On our walk back, we stopped every few blocks to take pictures of the tiles on the facades of the buildings. That’s one thing I didn’t expect in Lisbon was the beauty of the architecture. Yes, they had Spanish-style buildings, but also they had the facades decorated with elaborate tiles. It’s something that really makes Lisbon unique, and something I really loved.

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While these are not the actual tiled walls, these are some tiles from former facades that were for sale at Feira la Ladra!

Our hostel (which is so amazing), had a free sangria night on Friday night, and we both took full advantage of that. We got the chance to meet some of the other people in our hostel (people from everywhere – USA, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Czech Republic, Mexico – all over), which I really loved. It was something that I feel like you don’t get the chance to do in most hostels, and even though I was super excited to be spending time with Kelsey, it was really cool to get the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

Our final adventure for our first day in Lisbon was an attempt to locate a Tapas bar. Kelsey had been raving about how wonderful Tapas bars are in Granada (you can apparently get appetizers and a drink for like two euros). But that was not the case in Lisbon. It’s not Spain (obviously), so there weren’t many places that were like Spain. We did end up finding a really cool restaurant where we got food, but it took way too long for our liking. Kelsey had been up since 4:30AM and I had been up since 6:30AM. Neither of us wanted to wait very long for food, but Europe takes their sweet time in restaurants. Needless to say we were ready for bed when we finally made it back to the hostel.

More than anything though, I am glad that I took this trip because I wanted to see Kelsey. My friends are very important people to me and not being able to see them is really starting to get to me. Spending this time with Kelsey really helped make up for it. Kelsey is such an amazing person, completely genuine and tells it like it is. But she’s also kind and caring and the person you want to have around if something goes wrong, because she always keeps a level head. She is not judgmental and loves with her whole heart.

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I had been going through a small bout of homesickness the week before I went to Lisbon, and Kelsey cured that for me without a doubt. There is no one in the world I would rather adventure around Lisbon with, attempting to not completely wipe out on the slick tiled hills. It was a random adventure, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way with any other person.


lydia.

Shakespeare’s Globe & Miscellaneous Museums

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Yesterday, for my Shakespeare class, we went to see a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. While not the original theatre, as that one burned down in 1613 (during a production of Henry VIII), the Globe that is standing now is a reproduction – still open-air, and still producing The Bard’s classic works. Sometimes, they’re remixed and reimagined, sometimes they’re traditionally produced.

Yesterday, we saw a production of Cymbeline, reimagined and retitled, Imogen (after the daughter of the original title character). Before you keep reading, it’s really helpful to know the plot of this show, because I tried to summarize it, but found it quite difficult. CLICK HERE for the SparkNotes edition just to get a basic summary idea of what this show is about. It’s really good, you should also read it.

IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. It was retold as rival gangs (the British vs. the Romans) during what I assume was  a drug war. Cymbeline, the king of Britain, was the head of one gang, and Iachimo, a Roman, was the leader of the other. The costumes consisted entirely of athletic clothes (workout pants and leggings and Adidas hoodies and sneakers), and the girls all had funky hairstyles. The British wore all black costumes and the Romans wore all white. The only exceptions to this was Cloten had a red shirt (because he is brought on stage fighting with blood on his shirt), and when Imogen disguises herself as a man, she is in blue (which makes her stand out against the stark white of the Romans and the black clothes of the Britons). It was a really cool contrast and it made it easier to understand who was on which side. They also had a gender-bent character (Pisanio, and it worked, as she was portrayed as Imogen’s maidservant) and colorblind casting which I thought was amazing.

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Sarah, Madeline, & I had the peasant “seating” aka we were standing by (leaning up against) the stage for the whole show!

It was also impeccably choreographed. It didn’t have big musical numbers or anything like that (obviously), it was just that all the characters knew exactly where to be and where to interact with one another at exactly what moment. There were a couple times where they included modern music and had the scene choreographed to that, which was so, so cool. Especially the final fight scene. They had characters rigged up to fight in the air (off-set by other actors on ladders that essentially was a DIY rigging system ). Technically, I was so impressed.

They took a story that I don’t think many people had heard of before, and reimagined it in a way that would speak to modern audiences. It had all the elements of a Shakespeare show (I mean, it was his dialogue the whole time), but by making all the technical decisions they did, they kept the audience interested during the entire show. Which took a bit of work, since I was standing for the entire time we were there (remember, it’s a recreation of Shakespeare’s original Globe).

After the show was over, my friends Sarah, Madeline, and I decided to check out this museum that was right around the corner. The Clink Prison Museum.

Initially, I was really excited because I thought we would get to learn all about the history of London’s prison museum and how things had changed in the long history of England. Nope. The Clink was a historic prison that ran from the 12th century to 1780. There was a lot of focus on heretics and traitors, and overall it was really underwhelming to me. The only thing I enjoyed was at the end, we got to take a picture “behind bars” so my friends  and I decided we were going to do a Chicago-inspired, “Cell Block Tango” kinda thing…in which I turn out looking way more like I actually murdered someone than the “he had it coming” that the song is taking about.

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Overall, yesterday was a really eventful day. The Globe was all I expected and more (honestly I could go see Imogen again), but The Clink Prison Museum was really not that great. I also had a “pizza burger” from Honest Burger and I wish I had a picture of it but I ate it really fast..whoops lol.


lydia.

Socially Confident Pigeons (And Other Cultural Differences)

The biggest difference between London and my hometown (other than the small town vs. big city thing) is the amount of pigeons that are EVERYWHERE.

Not only are they everywhere, but they are really ready to approach you. I have never been anywhere where pigeons are as ready to come up to you and just stare at you like these have. It’s bizarre.

But it’s not the only “cultural difference” I’ve noticed over my six days here in London. The list is expansive, but here’s a quick overview:

  • When I was at the grocery store, the eggs weren’t in the refrigerated section. They were on a shelf next to dried fruits and nuts and I was very confused (and a little concerned).
  • Air conditioning is NOT A THING HERE. Where I come from, if you don’t have AC, you will suffocate in your home. Here, they’re just like “yeah open some windows, it’ll be fine.”
  • There are no “normal” flavors of potato chips (or “crisps”). The selection I have found at my local grocery store include (but is not limited to), the following: prawn cocktail, spicy pepper, cheese & onion, vinegar, ready salted, and classic.
  • Pub Culture is something of it’s own breed. You see people at 11AM having a drink at a pub and it’s no big deal. I guess it is always 5:00 somewhere!
  • Jaywalking is not a crime. You can cross at anytime, but the drivers here are very aggressive, so be careful!
  • They put mayo on salads as a dressing.
  • HISTORY IS EVERYWHERE. I am staying in a really new building, but the building that I will have all my classes in is really old. Everything where I come from is almost exclusively post-WWII.
  • I was told that fish & chips were a tourist thing. They’re not. Literally every pub serves them. Also, they’re really good.

There are so many other things that are different here, it’s not possible to list them all. While some people say that the UK is just like the United States, I’d argue there are plenty of differences here across the pond.

Bye for now!


lydia.

London Calling

Remember a couple months ago when 1) I said I would post more and 2) I was applying to study abroad in London, England for the fall semester? Well…

I leave in less than a week for a semester abroad in London, England! 

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I am so so so excited that it is finally happening! Hopefully this adventure will encourage me to be posting more about London and the adventures that come along with it.

It’s going to be a huge transition and a giant lesson in personal growth and confidence, but I think I can do it.

More on this adventure later.


lydia.

Not to Be Creepy…

One thing I find myself doing far too often is “creeping”. I love looking at people’s pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, what have you. I feel like I do it really often, almost to the point of living vicariously through other people’s adventures.

I find myself doing this with other people too. YouTubers who are in cute relationships, an adorable Instagram adventurer, a friend of a friend who is studying abroad. It’s not that I want to live their lives, but more that I feel like I’m not doing much with mine.

Which isn’t exactly true. I go to school out of my home state, I’ve made friends from all over the country, I’ve explored my new city, found places I feel at home. But that doesn’t cure this need for exploration. So, I find myself creeping on other people’s explorations.

I’ve done this a lot over the years, from Facebook-stalking my high school crush, to finding out what other movies that actor has been in. I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert at finding out things via social media.

But I feel like there is a point where interest ends and longing begins. I do long for some kind of adventure, some kind of change, something magnificent to happen to me. Do I need to go out and get it, or am I content with living quietly behind a computer screen?

Over the past few weeks, one of my friends and I have become somewhat obsessed with this adorable couple on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Of course, I am more obsessed than she is, but nonetheless, we both think they’re absolutely adorable and that their relationship seems to be making them both happy.

It was over the past week that I realized where my problem lies. It is with a dissatisfaction in what I’m doing with my life. I don’t find myself happy spending the weekends locked in my dorm room, or in the library, studying so I can stay at this college that I love so much. This school makes me so happy, but if my grades don’t improve soon, I won’t be able to come back next year.

I’m not happy with how much work I have to put in to remain at a place that makes me happy. Is that messed up? Am I messed up? I don’t know. But I do know that trying to find what I want, and trying to find my happiness isn’t going to be through other people’s adventures.

I’ll have time for my adventures. It will come someday. But for now, I need to figure out what everyone I “creep” on did to increase their happiness. I need to figure out what it is that is going to make me happy.

I’m done living behind a computer screen. I want to keep “creeping” on people, to see their lives and see their happiness. I want to be happy for them, and admire what they’re doing. But I can’t find my personal happiness in their lives anymore.

I don’t know what it is that makes it so hard for me to just get off my butt and get stuff done, but I need to do it. I need to work hard so I can stay at this college. I need to explore what I can right now. If that’s the internet, if that’s the coffee shop, if that’s whatever life is throwing at my right now, I need to explore it.

Because someday, I want to have adventures and pictures worth creeping on.

Cleaning

Basically there is a lot of cleaning that I need to get done in my life.

My dorm room is a wreck, my agenda is full of chicken scratch assignments, my bed hasn’t been made in week, I have a dozen things open on my desktop, and everything is just in a state of disorganization that is becoming overwhelming. And I don’t know how to rectify this situation.

It bothers me, and this pile of clothes that prevents me from opening the door to my room is growing. Just like my anxiety.

But instead of complaining about all the things that I have to deal with and clean up, I feel like crawling back into my bed and pulling the covers over my head until it feels like the night and all I can hear are my thoughts. Of course, I never want to hear my thoughts. It’s weird stuff, ladies and gents.

But I think after spending the past three days wallowing in what I call “blue time” (for days when my depression takes over and I really just want to sleep and eat, and sometimes I do that – which is not good when you have homework), I’ve realized that I need to put on my big girl pants – actually, big girl shorts, it’s been in the 70’s lately – and clean it all up.

Spring Break is right around the corner. While I may not be going to the beach, I’ll get to go home. I have a lot of brightness waiting for me at home. Lots and lots of brightness that I just can’t wait to experience and see and enjoy.

Now, I don’t want to return from spring break and find that this room, this agenda, this life is still as untidy as the way it is now?

Nope.

I want it clean, and tidy, and much more attune to what I want out of it.

I guess it’s time to get to work.


 

lydia.