There is a book in the shelf next to my bed that has been there for quite a while now, more than two years actually. I never took the time to finish reading it and had almost forgotten about it until I arrived in Lisbon on a Friday afternoon and immediately drew the connection between the summerly colours being emitted from Lisbon’s buildings and streets and the way they’re being described in Pascal Mercier’s novel “Night Train to Lisbon” which is the exact book I’ve been describing.
Friday, August 24th
The hostel I was going to stay at had been described as a cosy, aesthetically very pleasing one, not too far away from the city centre. The railways, crossing and following the streets, and which the city is known for, passed by the edifice and added to the feeling I had hoped to find in the city. Just as I was about to enter the building, a young, blonde woman came by and asked me to help her with the bike she was carrying. The woman, as I should find out later, was Julina, who was originally from Germany and studying in Amsterdam at the moment. The bike her friend’s who had had an accident just a day before. Sympathy between us grew even more after we met just half an hour later on one of the hostel’s patios and started talking about what had brought us to Lisbon. She then offered me to come join her and her friends to a birthday later in the afternoon, to which I naturally agreed.
We met an hour later, crossed the street and entered one of the many corner shops scattered all over the city, where you can not only find all kinds of fruits and food, but also a bottle of white wine reduced from 3€ to 2.79€, an offer which we could not resist and therefore took advantage of. Together with the bottle of wine and some peaches we walked through Lisbon’s streets, which were being shined on by the setting sun, and eventually met her friends who had been second hand shopping the entire day and who I got to know then.
We all met in the afternoon in one of the bigger parks close to our hostel. The actual plan had been to have dinner in a club that was a restaurant every evening, yet due to the amount of people dining there, we changed plans and strolled through the surrounding streets until we had found a restaurant that suited our expectations. At least it seemed to, until we got to order and eat our food which was rather disappointing. Nevertheless, we spend our evening there until going back to the club mentioned before. The night was still young and so were we, thus we stayed in the club until three in the morning and even had another bottle of red whine on the patio where I had met Julina only a few hours before. Lisbon treated us more than well.
Saturday, August 25th
There are a lot of benefices of travelling, not only can you sleep in and still have a lot of the city you’re visiting, getting to know new cultures and new food is also one, if not the most important advantage. With that being said, we spend not only the first few hours after waking up with looking for another restaurant, that the group had discovered earlier in the week, and eventually eating there, but also most of the afternoon and eventually even got to dine at the club-restaurant in the evening. The first restaurant was a traditional, locally ran, Portuguese restaurant where we stayed at for almost three hours, ordering one meal after another.
We then left and strolled through the streets until we arrived at another, higher located, park which offered us an incredible view of the city and it’s surrounding area. We talked about our latest books and gave each other recommendations of which ones to read, some of which I’ve recently bought. We continued our walk and eventually got to the seaside where way sat down for another hour.
After having had another nap in the afternoon, from which I woke up feeling refreshed and full of energy, we went to the restaurant we had wanted to dine at the day before and enriched our palate once again with some delicious and traditional food, that was very well prepared. Lisbon had treated me more than well.
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