This weekend has been dominated by rain, reading, and time spent at home. Did some shorter escapes though, including a trip down to the port where I spotted the amazing three-master pictured below. What obviously caught my attention was the Swedish flag.
Unfortunately I was unable to reach the actual ship, but after coming home I decided to look up this beautiful M/S Gunilla from Öckerö – only to find out that it belongs to a Swedish high school on the west coast called Öckerö gymnasium. Basically, these kids get to spend a considerable amount of their high school years at sea, having lectures and classes on board, while visiting places such as Europe (obviously), South America, the Caribbean, and North America. How amazing is that?
Speaking of contrasts.
I just found out that my Portuguese flatmate has never seen ice forming outside the freezer.
Meanwhile, central Sweden offers temperatures below zero at midnight. Over and out.
Some say that summer is about to lose its grip of Lisbon, but to my Swedish mind 33°C and sunshine is still to be consider fairly summery. And considering the exodus from the city the past weekend, the Lisboners seem to agree.
I headed with my flatmate for Costa da Caparica and some beach time on the Atlantic coast. And I finally got to do something I haven’t done since Perth in Australia in 2006 – body surfing! And despite being seven years older, I enjoyed it just as much now as I did then. Perhaps that is good proof of my poor maturation process during these past years…
This summer I’ve taken some more or less “radical” measures (well, I guess all is relative) to minimize my Facebooking time; and although I still Facebook more than I wish, it’s a lot less than before.
Luckily, Internet doesn’t Iack replacement sources for procrastination. And if still nothing comes to mind, you can always invent your own. For example, starting a blog. Or creating your own map over Lisbon. Especially when you know that your audience consists of max 4 people.
Anyway, apart from procrastinating, my second purpose with this post was to advertise a really interesting book I’m currently reading. For anyone with an interest in psychology, and specifically in how our thinking is very limited and misleading in the modern society, this is a great read.
About one and a half week has passed since my arrival, and it’s time for some brief first impressions. But to be frank, they are almost exclusively positive!
I cannot think of many cities of Lisbon size, which have caught my instant love like Lisbon has. This city has it all: beautiful architecture, incredible atmosphere, open and friendly inhabitants, plenty of natural meeting spots, good weather, nice beaches, and culture in excess.
Add to this the fact that I seem to have ended up in a perfect apartment: central location in the heart of the old town, lovely flatmates, and an amazing view over the river. And for the first time I even have my own balcony!
But, I should also keep in mind that the first week (plus the 10 days I spent here last winter), have been somewhat my honeymoon with Lisbon. Now my classes have started, and routine will soon be part of my Portuguese life, so let’s see if I will keep walking on cloud nine…
Although I have intentionally developed this towards a travel blog, I don’t want to completely drop the original idea.
So here comes photo proof that I’m still working on that handstand. It is a headstand, it is not completely vertical, but it is something.
Nowadays I even have enough space to do these exercises at home, which might help in keeping some continuity.
It’s been a while since I lived in a country where I do not understand a single word, and often cannot make myself understood. In Finland, English was usually sufficient; and although that was not always the case in Switzerland, by now my German is at least advanced enough to communicate the basics.
But here in Portugal I’m at a loss. Not with the younger generation (<35 yo), who mostly speak English very well, but often enough to make it a handicap. And since I’m determined to get to know the culture in this lovely country, I need to learn at least enough to interact with my neighbors and in stores.
So I did a quick scavenge hunt and found at least one free online course, offered by BBC. Let’s see if I can push myself to follow it…
First days have flown by, and I the smile just won’t leave my face. I will at some point post some “first impression of Lisbon”, but I’ll save that for the end of my first week.
Inspired by this map of Stockholm, I have started working on a personal Lisbon map where I will map places of interest that I have visited (or perhaps will visit). Check it out!
Like so many other ambitious ideas, this blog suddenly died out after 45 days, and with it the three challenges. I didn’t completely stop working on the handstand, but the memorization fell into oblivion, and the rejection therapy never really kicked off. Nevertheless, I still have intentions of keeping the blog alive to practice my writing.
A nice welcome from my new flatmates. The sweet that came with it is already gone.
So what is a better reason to revive a personal blog than a big change in life? Since yesterday, my new home town is Lisbon. And from today, this blog will not only be a progress report, but also my personal travel blog.