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Lisbon's Characterful First Impression

PORTUGAL | Saturday, 23 August 2014 | Views [1671] | Comments [1]

“Marijuana? Hashish?”

First impressions mean a lot, and this was mine when I arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. I had barely stepped outside the doors of the Metro station when a man in his 50’s with a thick moustache and protruding beer belly hit me up to buy some drugs off of him. He extended his hand out to me showing what appeared to be a large clump of hash. It took me a moment to realise what he was offering me. I looked him up and down, shook my head in a firm “no” and kept walking. He smiled at me and said, “obrigado” - thank you in Portuguese.

That was the immediate feeling of this city. Raw yet grateful. Uninhibited in an appreciative sort of way.

Lisbon Streets

As I had arrived in Lisbon quite early my hostel, Home Lisbon Hostel, wasn’t ready for me to check in. I dropped my backpack off in their storage room and immediately tried my best to get lost in the city. I could see the Sao Jorge Castillo on top of a hill and decided that exploring another castle after the previous day’s escapades in Ghent would be a splendid way to kill a few hours. What I didn’t bank on was how many hours I would spend wandering the narrow streets being as lost in my thoughts as I was geographically. The number of people trying to sell me drugs started to drop of and I took that as a sign that I was moving farther away from the city centre.

Lisbon Statue

I did eventually make it to the castle and it was as spectacular as I ever could have imagined. The towering stone walls were great to walk around to catch a great view of Lisbon. I climbed to the top of a pillar and sat down to admire the vistas from above the rest of the tourist’s cameras. I was high enough so that the incessant chatter of excited foreigners was drowned out by the sound of the wind. It was tranquil enough that the views over the city complemented perfectly the surreality of my position, on top of the fortress in Portugal.

Lisbon Castle Wall 

I began to study the nuances in the noise of the breeze and thought I heard something familiar. “Marijuana? Hashish?” It may have been my mind playing tricks on me, but I’m sure I had heard the city’s unique character find me perched alone on my tower.

Lisbon Staircase

Lisbon Castle Tower

Tags: europe, lisbon, portugal

Comments

1

Hi!

Entertaining article about my hometown; I enjoyed it.

Just a correction: it's CASTELO, not "castillo". Castillo is Spanish.

  Nuno May 18, 2016 9:00 AM

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