Lisbon and its surroundings

Spending a couple of days in Lisbon and the area is definitely a must do when you travel in Europe. People are relaxed and welcoming, there are delicious pastels everywhere in the local bakeries, the beaches are more than beautiful, the history is highly interesting, and I could list many more reasons why it is worth traveling to Lisbon.

Once you have decided to go there, check out my highlights of the day to discover some spots that I enjoyed a lot. Besides them and the usual touristy things like going on a guided tour with Lisbonfreetour.blogspot.com or taking the ferry to Cacilhas for beautiful views of the sunset over Lisbon I discovered some other things that you might like as well.

If you are looking for a delicious, healthy and affordable lunch, go to “The Green Room” which has daily lunch offers for less than 10 euros and is located close to the train and ferry station “cais do sodré”. I had a mango chickpea curry with salad and couscous and loved it.

For yogalovers, there are 2 hostels I stayed in which offered accommodation and yoga packages. The first is Cascais Bay Hostel in Cascais and the other is Native Adventure Hostel close to the train station “Foros da Amora” which is less than an hour away from Lisbon. Both hostels have really good Yoga classes and different advantages. From Cascais, Sintra with its mysterious palaces and hills is only a 40-minutes bus ride away. When you are in Native Adventure Hostel, there is an amazing beach within bike or car driving distance and you can have surf lessons, stay at the pool in the nice garden or get an ayuverdic massage.

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Leaving my comfort zone – Part 2

The funny thing is that once I actually left for Portugal, I was in my comfort zone most of the time. My excitement about meeting new people, discovering a new environment and tasting new food usually outshines the insecurity and doubtfulness I feel when I am stepping out of my comfort zone – and so it was again this time.

Thus, there is really not that much to tell since I found myself being very much at ease in basically all the situations during the week in Portugal. There is just one particular where I did have a slight trace of feeling uncomfortable which I would like to mention. I was coming back to Lisbon from a beautiful day in Setúbal where I went dolphin watching and got to know a talkative and interesting couple from England. They are working as freelancers in web design and since they are able to work from wherever they want to, they are house sitting and travel around the world.

But back to my evening in Lisbon: I was having dinner by myself on the top of a really nice terrace just next to el Miradouro de Santa Catarina (the chocolate cake is delicious!) and, since it was my last evening in Portugal, didn’t feel like going home already. I didn’t have anyone to go out with, though. And just like that, without trying to think too much about it, I went to PARK – a rooftop bar on top of a parking deck – to have a drink and talk to people.

I was very lucky that already on my way up I met a Portuguese guy and a Hungarian girl in the elevator and it turned out that they were willing to spend the evening together showing me Portuguese nightlife in barrio alto. Good that I didn’t know that they were on their first Tinder date at that point, otherwise I would have felt bad. I told you that I didn’t think too much about what I was doing, but I still needed a Mojito and a shot in order to be able to fully enjoy the evening.

The famous comfort zone and my vacation in Portugal

After traveling by myself in Spain in 2011 I somehow never really had the urge to do it again although I did love its advantages a lot. Having had a busy year with many decisions to take and few time for myself I decided to seize the opportunity of traveling by myself again and booked a flight to Lisbon.

The decision process itself was already where I had to leave my comfort zone – I have to admit that the idea of spending a week by myself scared me as much as it excited me in the beginning. Once I got over this phase of doubting and overthinking, I started the best part of solo-traveling: collecting information and ideas about the destination. In my case that was easy, Lisbon is so popular nowadays that I could ask more than one of my friends for advice.

I got really amazed by all the ideas I was starting to have and that is why I didn’t mind too much that I had to get out of my comfort zone ago when everyone asked me why I was traveling alone.
I usually don’t like these kind of questions because I feel like having to justify my way of thinking and feeling. But having experienced many times that I actually do think differently about some things, this time I tried to see it from a different perspective, spread my excitement and felt very positive about the trip. But when my boyfriend left for his vacation a couple of days before my trip started I got nervous again and knew what would help to calm me: a big hug from a friend.

I just hadn’t planned to see anyone before leaving since I still had lots more stuff to do. My family and childhood-friends are not living in Frankfurt and best friend here didn’t have time, so I needed to do another out-of-comfort thing: asking a friend who I haven’t been talking to a lot lately if he had time. It ended up being a really helpful evening bringing us closer together again.

Portugal

After a day of diving in sesimbra with  amazing people I am stuck outside my hostel, in the middle of nowhere, waiting for someone to let me in.. I the outside is really nice,but actually getting a little cold. I guess I can forget about that yoga class which was scheduled for 8 o’clock. My muscles are probably celebrating this break but I am a little disappointed. Hopefully the rest of my stay will be better…
Highlight of the day: seeing a swarm of beautiful fish in a gate of rock

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