Lisbon by Word of Mouth

While many people come to a new city and tend to hit the streets of the town to get a feel for their surroundings, I am getting a taste of Lisbon from inside the lovely apartment-like hostel. After a rather intense itinerary of visiting nearly every main city in Northern Spain, and dinners lastly until midnight, this nomad needs some hardcore rest. Moreover, there is an issue of playing catch up with some reporting and writing.

Ok, vale. Lets go. I woke up from my nap to hear an accordion player outside my balcony. I am getting the impression that there are a lot of independent musicians here in Lisbon. Just as in a romanticized movie, where the actor walks down a street and hears an violin player modestly entertaining the general public; the actor strolls through the street, and the audience is captured by the melodic tune portraying life as one sweet song, I am now living such a life. I am in my own movie, Portuguese style. As I walk the streets and wake up, I hear independent artists transmit their tunes into my room.

The breakfast served at the was really nice too. Unlimited toast and Jam, an omelet (made by the hostel help), juices, and coffee. The perfect way to start a day. I am definitely in Europe now; I can feel it from the vibes given off by the other travelers to the smell of the air.

The co-owner of the hostel, Tiago, a photojournalist, who has lived/visited various parts of the world, is extremely helpful. As I sit here with unlimited free Internet access, and hardly anyone is in back of me waiting to use the computer, I know that in 3 hours, this will all change. Understanding the world of deadlines and responsibility in journalism, he lends me his personal Mac notebook for the day. What luck I am having in Portugal.

While I have yet to see the sights of Lisbon, I am quickly realizing that the city is very international and filled with many students, backpackers, scribes, and individuals eager to do the same as me: learn about other cultures, write, and travel.

Here in the hostel, every other person seems to be fascinated with my job at They all seem to want to be travel writers. As someone who very casually, yet happily, fell into the career, I feel more lucky than ever to be reporting and am proudly wearing my shirt around the hostel.

Knowing that I have to do some reporting, everyone is eager to share tips for what I should see and do.

Some of the best ones have been to visit the beaches of Cascais, the historical town of Sintra, and go to Belém for its pastry shops.

In fact, while taking a quick break from writing, I was just treated to a pastel de Belém. Belém is a town on the outskirts of Lisbon that is famous for their custard pastries. Since 1837, nuns have been selling these treats (made with a long standing secret recipe). Today the pastry shop is one big bar and waiters walk around severing a couple thousand pastries a day. The pastries are cheap at the low price of .80 cents a piece, but beware: the line to taste this luxury can last as long as 15 minutes during the peak times of the day. (

Tomorrow, I plan to go visit one of these interesting places for myself.