Love & Life & Lisbon… & Lattes.

For no one particular reason, I’m going to remember today.

Ten days to go. I had my last day of work (and it was a half-day) exactly four months ago, on the fifth of August. A lot has happened since then. I think today was special because it had a bit of everything best about these four months. A summary of sorts.

Bethany became my 75th official follower today – hey friend! Bethany was one of the first people to tell me to keep writing, and she was the one who got me my weekly column at the Daily Orange in 2009. I wrote a column once that rhymed. It was a joke – not my day of the week to write – just the last day of the semester. I didn’t think they’d actually use it. They did.

The poem is over, thanks for sticking with it to the end. In loving memory of Bea Arthur… Thank you for being a friend.

Oh, to have a circulation of 10,000 again, and use it so wisely. The line below my picture every week was “Part-time Rockstar.”

Today, nervous I’d been overzealous about my capability to walk a half marathon on January 7, I hopped onto walkjogrun.net to check out some of the routes of the last couple days. Maybe I just walk a lot of kilometers. Maybe I don’t even hit 4 miles.

That day I found the all-you-can-eat buffet in Barcelona? Yeah, I was famished because I’d walked 3.5 miles on a cup of coffee to get there. 9 mile day. Yesterday’s trip through random run-down streets? 7 roundtrip. In poorly fitting jeans and $17 superglued shoes.

Logically, if you hopped on a treadmill and walked for three hours, you’d hit 8 miles, too, I guess.

…But who ever does that. Give me spandex and sneakers – I can’t wait for half marathon day.

Today, I skipped the castle and monastery again. I’ll get to them. I love walking the areas I don’t think tourists go. I left my hostel and started at the park.

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As I have so many times this trip, I stalked love and life, in B&W.

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I’m one of the oddest educated travelers who knows nothing about anywhere she goes. I’m terrible with history. When Erin told me we were going to the East Side Gallery, I thought we were going to a museum.

Oh, the Berlin Wall?

The hostel did not recommend this wall in the middle of Lisbon. It was not circled on my map when I arrived… I like to think tourists don’t find it.

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I ended up at a mall and found the equivalent of Portugal’s Wegman’s. I wandered aisles in awe for twenty minutes. In so many places over the past few months, one-stop shopping was non-existent. You get food at the food store, and across the street there was the pharmacy for shampoo, soap, etc. All great until the one thing you need is scissors because you really, really just want to cut your hair, and scissors are neither food nor soap.

With a bottle of water and bag of M&Ms, because I swear they’re better here, I waited in line for twenty minutes and watched an old woman – old, not feeble – stoically refuse to bag her own groceries. All I could think was “Please don’t let me grow up to be that woman. Please don’t let me grow up to be that woman.”

I stopped back at the hostel for a bit then ventured out again. Holidays in Lisbon.

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Lisbon continues to thrill me, in a spooky, confusing sense. So much of it looks so old, some simply falling apart… But it’s beautiful. I walked in a direction I hadn’t been before. Up and down narrow streets, up and down hills… The beauty about avoiding public transportation to get from Major Point A to Major Point B is having to go through all the little side streets.

There were so many points I might have turned around. I’d go one street further, one alley further… And there’d be another great spot.

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Finally, miles later, dinner. What I don’t spend on pub crawls, museums and public transportation, I allow myself on dinner sometimes. Money here is a weird thing – sometimes, what costs $7 at home cost 5€ here – the equivalent. Other times, such as with ice cream and coffee, what costs $3 at home cost 3€ here… And it’s a really expensive ice cream or coffee.

My bill tonight came to 14.50€. The main course 8€. I don’t care, 8€, $10.70, 14€, $19…

I’ve dropped $20 at TGIFriday’s many times and it’s never felt this good.

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I ate, I read and I moved on to my Lisbon coffee shop of three days.

And this happened.

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What’s funny about having a blog and Twitter account – when you don’t think you have a chance in hell with the cute guy behind the counter, it becomes great comedy for your quirky little audience. This summer’s Twitter hashtags included #LatteLove, #BaristaBoy and my favorite pair #WhoNeedsCaffeine #IdRatherYouWakeMeUp.

My favorite mid-June day was “Aw, seems #BaristaBoy is dating someone.” Based purely on overhearing him say “I prefer monogamy.” Responses poured in.

Matt – “Summer is young! Don’t lose faith!” and Lu – “Aw. I was really rooting for you and #BaristaBoy.”

I really wish I’d screen-captured all of those. When first dates actually do happen, Tweets get deleted in case boy is computer savvy.

Poor Eduardo. Not a chance.

What a day. What a day, what a day, what a happy day.

Nine more days of travel and then I’m home for the holidays.

With that… Wishing you all the happiest holidays yet. Mine certainly are, as the picture with Papai Noel below captures well, because this is what happens when I go to the mall in December.

I’d love to bottle this feeling.

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6 thoughts on “Love & Life & Lisbon… & Lattes.

  1. Hey sweetie, for lots of reasons, just love your blog today. So light, so fun and so beautiful!! Miss you and can’t wait for your return!!! Love Dad.

    • Me too! And, I’m really going to miss reading about your day. Although, actually being part of it is fantastic too … : )

  2. Amazing. I stop in to catch up on the past few posts and I see a Bethany mention. I swear I’ve had you bookmarked forever. I just oddly never started “following” people on WordPress until today.

    On that note, I now describe you to people as that “friend from college who is absolutely amazing and fearless when it comes to life”.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been adoring your home city while you’re abroad. Spending far too much time here ahhing and oohing all the charm Saratoga has to offer. “The Christmas lights on Broadway!” “Those ornaments, look at those decadent ornaments! They’re bigger than my apartment!” “Awww, so many wreaths on Carolina!”

    Let’s just say this is the tiniest fraction of what you must be feeling overseas.

    Anyway, love your European tales. 🙂

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