June 30, 2017
Where the fox is Naomi? Lisbon
There’s always something to love about every city I visit, but Lisbon is a uniquely charming city. It’s centuries old but has perfected the art of ageing with grace and style. The streets are lined with multi-storey homes adorned in ornate, Moorish tiles. Some are missing, some are cracked, but that’s just part of its charm.
Lisbon is Europe’s most western and sunniest capital city, and it successfully won over the hearts of 60 digital nomads last month.
It is a hilly, albeit walkable city and I loved spending a month not needing any public transport to get around. Every day I trudged my laptop up the steep cobblestoned back streets, which had worn away over time making it a slippery, dangerous operation. I also learnt to not put all my faith in Siri because she will take you up some exhausting steep mountain to save 30 seconds, as opposed to the more sensible route around it.
We touched down in Lisbon late on a Saturday night, buzzing with excitement. Our previous pitstop of Prague was beautiful but freezing, and we were beyond ready to defrost. The image of Lisbon painted in our minds was one of sun and ocean, and the group came together for a beach trip, catching a train up the coast to the city’s most well-known beach district, Cascais.
The biggest downside of the month was how real the distance felt from Australia. It was the hardest time difference I’ll have all year. But even with starting later I was still struggling with those early mornings in a city that typically wakes up late and stays up even later. Some of my fellow remotes from the US were flying home for bucks parties and work conferences, but this month it really hit home I can’t be next to loved ones back home when they need me. On the topic of home, one pleasant surprise about Lisbon was the streets lined in jacaranda trees that bloomed just as we arrived. It sent me right back to my childhood.
While there are endless, amazing restaurants and cool cafes in Lisbon, I was lucky to find the most affordable and delicious places during my first week. I’ll never forget those quiet, local spots decorated with faded blue and white tiles, the special written up on scrap paper in the window and the same old men sipping espressos. I developed such a strong love affair with grilled sardines at these sorts of restaurants that by the end of the month I couldn’t stomach the taste of fish.
The pinnacle of taste in Lisbon though, were the luscious little tarts of heaven known as Pasteis De Nata. Locals have it as a quick breakfast on the go, and sweet-tooth foreigners like me lose their marbles over them. A Pastel De Nata is a warm vanilla egg custard nestled in a crisp sweet pastry shell. They have this fascinating history of being invented by monks and the original recipe is still closely guarded. Tasting the original Pastel De Nata, found only in a bakery 20 minutes north in Belem, exposed me to a new pastry standard I can’t even fathom.
This city is amazing and it is understandable why its popularity is growing at a rate the airport can’t keep up with (I spent four hours in line at customs upon arrival). There was something about Lisbon that captured the hearts of the entire group. The people were kind, the lifestyle was laidback and the food was absolutely delicious. I’ll be back for sure.