Into the Heart of the City1 September 2011I am not your ordinary tourist. Sure, I’ve paid to come to Lisbon, but with time and effort. I did not buy an airplane ticket and I did not plan anything, reading about this city’s history and listing the sights that deserve a visit. I have no interest in the sights, the monuments and the museums. I don’t take pictures and until this week I did not experience the normal anxiety that comes from the inevitable approaching departure. I simply landed here and found what I needed but did not expect to find: the non-demanding comfort that is best described as ‘feeling at home’.
In the Lisbon Chillout Hostel where I stayed and worked for the past two months I had to admit to travelers that my parents would probably be ashamed of my lack of interest. I was raised in a culture loving family and because of it I consider myself blessed with a healthy appetite for architecture, art and history, and always wanting to explore the local customs and traditional food that each new destination has to offer. But in Lisbon I could not be bothered. No paintings, palaces or Portuguese delicacies could move me from the hostel. I hung around like a beach bum, but instead of sand I lay in a hammock in a cement garden, instead of the ocean the hotels and houses of lower Lisbon washed up like concrete waves at my feet. I was the king of apathy, the emperor of procrastination, a sloth specialist with no ambition other than to drowse in the sweet, hot Lisbon sun with a book and a cup of coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening. If I were a superhero my outfit would have a big “L” on the front, Lazy Man!
I guess after having lived and breathed the unfamiliar for nine months and walking three thousand kilometers to get here I am entitled to goofing off a bit, but there may be another explanation to my indolence. Not every city can instantly make you feel at home. From the moment I set foot here the whole place felt like a hammock. It naturally adjusted itself to the contours of my body, softly rocking me from left to right and back again. If Lisbon were a woman she would be the one that takes your heart immediately, before she even opens her mouth to speak or shows you the more hidden treasures that are most certainly there to explore.
There are many ways to start a relationship with someone, but hastily exploring all the positive sides is probably not advisable. What remains then are the downsides, the little irritable eccentricities that everyone has, and the initial delight can slowly but surely erode into disappointment. To build something lasting it is necessary to be patient and to take the good and the bad as they come, with hopefully more of the first than the latter. I do not want Lisbon to be like a holiday fling that is as easily forgotten as it is won. Love at first sight is rare and it should be treated as such, with a delicate mix of deliberation, curiosity and good intent. I’ll come back for a second date for sure!
But for now, I have to say goodbye. It is time for me to move on and continue my journey. Like Santiago in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist I have found my oasis, but it will turn out to be a fata morgana if I don't complete my mission first. My first milage for MasterPeace. Twalk With Me, again!
« Back to homepage
Leave your comment
Posted by Hans S - vrijdag 2 september 2011, 17:51OK stapper,
daar ga je weer!
Posted by Hannah - vrijdag 2 september 2011, 21:51I wish you the best for starting to walk again!!
And greet the wonderful Lisbon from me before you leave. x
Posted by Peter en Anke - zaterdag 3 september 2011, 12:51Bel voor de tweede ronde. Op naar Rome! Succes en we zien elkaar ergens onderweg. x
Posted by Elyse - zaterdag 3 september 2011, 15:15Great to hear your on the road again, I must agree with your sentiments regarding Lisbon it does create a sense of homeliness :)
Posted by The Twilgrim aka Edgar Neo - maandag 5 september 2011, 12:16Very recognizable! And with your comparison with Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist you're spot on... And I think at this point there are more quotes applicable. To both our journeys:
“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision."
“Every search begins with beginners luck and ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”
and you don't have to be ashamed because Paulo experienced it too:
“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”
So take your time to read the omens. And take your time. Don't go to fast. Don't go to slow. And you will do just fine!
Next week I'll continue my journey and start with El Camino. The Alchemist IRL ;-)
The Twilgrim aka Edgar Neo
Posted by tom - maandag 5 september 2011, 17:02Dear Mr Boon,
Aha! Is it really true? Is our man in Lisbon finally ready to go? We were already spectulating when you would flap your wings and fly again. Happy to hear you are ready and the time has come.
having read you story on Lisbon I must admit I found myself making a mental note to pass by if, and when, I get the chance. Eventhough I enjoyed your analysis on Lisbon I have another Hypothesis you might try on for size.
I think the reason why you didn't venture out to explore Lisbon is because everything which interests you was already within reach. All coming together within the vicinity of your hostel. food,drink, and a good conversation intertwined with sleep and an occasional read, are all you need.
Good luck my friend!
Hope to hear a lot more!
Twalk With Me - Walking and Talking 6000 miles with just an iPhone and a guitar
2e Binnenvestgracht 15, 2312 BZ Leiden52.1639474.48465/graphics/map.icon.png1Studio de Veste
2e Binnenvestgracht 15
2312 BZ Leiden
The road so far
2e Binnenvestgracht 15
2312 BZ Leiden
The road so far