For a full list of my travel adventures, click here.
Holy bleeping bleep. I apologize. It’s been a busy month, but it’s a bit inexcusable. January was so good, February so poor. March is going to be great, just warning you now!
A few WEEKS ago, I went to Lisbon with my closest friends here, for a weekend away. We decided it would be a good bonding trip, capitalizing on the fun times we had in our first term, and giving us a reason for a really good weekend despite being in different classes this time. We flew out on a Friday night and came back on a Sunday afternoon, and the whole thing was a blur of laughter, drama, drinking, hangovers, long talks, and way too much noise.
We caught a cab from the Lisbon airport, and arrived at our flat at nearly midnight. By the time we got settled in and had a few drinks, it was after 2am, and we decided it was the perfect time to go out. We just caught a few cabs, saying “take us where we can carry on,” and ended up on the harbor, a string of seedy clubs where we drank too much, and got offered cocaine too frequently, for comfort. Around 5am, we put ourselves to sleep in various rooms, and lamented the rising sun.
Saturday was much calmer, filled with a rugby match over a long lunch. We took a walk through the city, tucking into a Morroccan tea house for a snack and taking in the views. Much like Naples, Lisbon felt more Southern-European. The trees were more equatorial, the sun a bit more yellow and the sky a bit more blue. The wind was still cold, but the architecture was stunning. It was a long but refreshing walk, a bit of holiday on our holiday.
We met another friend for dinner Saturday night, and went bar-hopping in a different part of town after. We came home and I ended up staying up to talk with a friend until almost 6:30am. I don’t know who I think I am, but when it came time to be out the flat by noon that day, we were all dragging a bit.
It was a fast trip—but perhaps it was just the right amount of time for a trip with a bigger group of friends. Putting that many personalities together for a short, concentrated trip in a small space will always raise tensions. I won’t deny I got wrapped up in it. But, somehow, the weekend was more of a bonding than a breaking experience. It was the turning point in my closest friendship here, and has made the month of February immensely more satisfying than January was (in that one dimension at least). I grew closer to my other friends too, as only drinking an untold amount and spending hundreds of Euros can do and trusting cabbies who barely speak English can do.
This trip wasn’t so much about the city, but Lisbon was a beautifully unexpected pleasure. We chose Lisbon because no one had plans to go there, nor had been there before. It was a “free-for-all” in that we had no preconceived notions. It was beautiful like Naples, but less dirty and terrifying (minus the cocaine thing that first night). It was bright colors and tasty food and great company. Easily my favorite city so far, for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned.