I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I just didn’t expect to immediately fall in love with a place as much as I did Lisbon on the first day. Usually after flying over 9 or 10 time zones and missing a connecting flight I’m a little cranky on the first day in a new place and that clouds my opinion. But not in Lisbon. Oh yes I was foggy from jetlag and at times had trouble reading a map, but that didn’t seem to matter here. I could have been at my sharpest and still would have had trouble finding where I wanted to go.
But that seems to be by design. I read that the meandering streets were laid out in a confusing pattern to ward of invaders over a thousand years ago. So you quickly learn the best way to navigate around the city is to simply let yourself become lost and just chill out already. Once you come to this conclusion you then relax enough to also learn that the Portuguese people are simply amazing! Some of the friendliest lot I’ve encountered on my travels so far.
The language can be a little perplexing since it often looks like Spanish but the pronunciation can often be very different. But that’s not really a worry since the people here, being the world explorers of old, simply flow from on language to the next.
Joan and I seem to have incredible luck at arriving in destinations during an important festival and our luck is holding out this time. The whole country is preparing for the biggest feast of the year tomorrow to honor St. Anthony, the patron Saint of Portugal. The whole city is bedecked in streamers and people are already winding up for the party.
I’m sure we’ll spend as much time being lost today as we did yesterday. But that’s okay. We’ll just do like the locals do…sit down at an outdoor café, eat a sardine or two, and wait until the anxiety passes. It always does here.