The flight time from Casablanca to Lisbon is one hour and twenty minutes. As I looked down from our 737 and saw the northern coast of Africa disappear and shortly thereafter the shores of Europe appear, I pondered the vast differences between the two continents. The Mediterranean Sea was a mesmerizing blue and the sun was shining, yet I could not help but think of the thousands of refugees who had risked their lives crossing the sea in an attempt to start new lives in Europe. I remind myself how fortunate we are to have the ability to board a plane and travel to different parts of the world as we do. To have the ability and freedom to do so is no small thing.
The airport in Lisbon was modern and we found our way through the metro without a hitch. Our accommodation was a very cool hostel like experience at Lost Lisbon. A huge hallway staircase led us up to the third floor check in area. The spacious common area had couches and the tables in the breakfast area doubled as work spaces. Hi-tech cappuccino machines offered coffee ad libitum and fresh baked buns and fruit were offered all day long. Lisbon was host city to a web conference and there was a buzzing vibe with young techies mulling about.
We made a point of doing almost nothing touristy in Lisbon. We just wanted to enjoy the city "as is". Cozy streets, decent weather and our central location made for a pleasant stay. Although this is the only city thus far where we have been approached to purchase questionable substances, three times in a half hour in fact, so perhaps we were looking a bit too relaxed?
On the night of the US election we met up with friends at their rented apartment for drinks, dinner and celebrations. We spent five weeks with Marie and Patrick in Boulogne-sur-Gesse back in March. It was a pleasant surprise to find they were also visiting Lisbon. We had a long afternoon nap in anticipation of a prolonged night of election coverage. Let it be no secret we were rooting for the other guy and we stumbled through the Lisbon streets disillusioned and saddened around 3 am after the alarming results began trickling in. The final result most certainly put a dampener on our spirits and to this day we are still struggling to understand this new order of the world.
The breakfast room at our hostel was an opportune place strike up a conversation with other travellers. The table setup did not allow one to hide at a table for two and hence new connections were made. We met Perm and Lave over breakfast one of the first mornings and we decided to spend our last day in Lisbon together. Perm and Lave are from Vancouver and we quickly found we had a lot in common. It was a relief to be able to converse in "Canadian" and we caught up on Canuck stuff and discussed many aspects of each others' life experiences. We took the ferry across the harbour, visiting the famous statue, followed the "scenic" GPS route to the ferry and had a nice lunch while waiting for the next departure. We spent the whole day walking, talking and taking in the atmosphere. We exchanged contact info and we plan to meet again when we are all back in Canada.