i only properly started to travel last June, when I went to Afropunk Paris and fell in love with being in an unfamiliar place. Since then i have promised myself not to travel to the same place twice. because there is so much of the world to see. a year later and i’m at an awkward contradiction. lisboa stole my whole heart and integrity, i will be returning, indefinitely. it’s both ironic and glorious because i had no real desire to go to portugal, we just wanted to go on a group trip after exams and there was more enthusiasm around portugal than anywhere else and i didn’t want to ruin the chances of us even going so i agreed and booked the tickets, found a couple markets, museums and art galleries that i wanted to visit and didn’t really research much more. i just knew it would be hotter than birmingham and that was attraction enough.
i am so grateful that i had no anticipation for this place. the country is stunning. it is perfect.
12 06 17 – we flew into Faro, early. stayed for a day and a morning. stayed in hostel 33 which felt more like an airbnb than it did a hostel. it was clean and youthful and literally 1 minute away from the train station which was perfect. we spent our day at the beach – praia de faro- a rare moment of rest for our trip. ended our day on the rooftop just admiring. this was really a walk slow, going nowhere, eat where and when we stop kind of day.
13 06 17 – faro is gorgeous. but lisboa can do no wrong. food was not as good as i feel like it was meant to be, but the vibe in the restaurants was always perfect. can the can is a shout if (when) you visit. veganism is banter in this country though (i’m a flexitarian so yes i had me some fish in order to survive) but i still stand by the city. on this day, we spent the morning lost, as you should. we arrived safely on the correct street of the air bnb but didn’t have a door number. then we met carlos. (see below). once no longer lost and acquainted with our air bnb host, we sought the supermarket – we just had to follow fatima because she is wonderous and taught us her ways as far as travelling goes. and then went out to explore. i threw out obrigado very often, over-used my pocket dictionary, didn’t impress anyone but myself and one cab driver, tried to find one specific street within bairro alto (i think we were already on it but) ended up in a cute restaurant and broke fast with those fasting, found a few caribbean spots where the owners made a big deal out of explaining that they don’t sell food (only drinks and one cake?) even though we weren’t looking for it, they led us the correct way to another spot that we didn’t have the strength or desire to find, found refuge from the sun in the cool night where the sounds of brazilian music from a nearby street party (was as lit as it sounds) invited discussions about later trips that we might make. will make. that is one thing about lisbon, it feels so non-european, like it invites thoughts of brasil, cuba, it has that kind of vibe. you feel like you’re navigating through a country where 1. your skin does not call for stares and more profoundly 2. this country is not trying to flaunt it’s colonialism in your face. i think it’s weird considering the portuguese history. i think its because when travelling through lisbon, you see crumbing buildings and it kinda makes you think of the city as humbling itself a little, rebuilding itself maybe. one cab driver on the third night explains that the tension (racial) is not like it is in our ‘Mr Brexit’ country. he said ‘i am african, i am also portuguese’ and it is this mezcla that you feel in the country, this sense of both in one place. that assurity that your skin is not taboo, cannot be taboo because it is acknoweledged in the feel of the country, the rhythm, the language of it as well as the mentality.
i have so much love for this place. i have to put the rest of my love in a part two of my travel journal. enjoy the visual documentary. peace and love, Yah Bless, always x
i have somehow managed to update you on the first half of this beautiful trip without any tears. i deeply miss this place and i can’t wait to share the rest of the story. look out for part two.