“A bird who flies with no direction” is what my mum referred to me as during a d&m we had in our first couple of days here, and it’s something that’s really stuck. I’ve always been someone who’s never really stuck to one path in life. I’ve always just gone with the flow and done whatever I feel was right at the time. People may think I’m crazy for some of the decisions I’ve made, yet I think they’re crazy for limiting themselves.
It’s been 21 days since I arrived on this continent.. In 21 days I have been to 4 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Spain & Portugal), seen multiple castles and have eaten various forms of national dishes and delicacies. I´m currently in Vienna and this is the first real time I´ve had the opportunity to put my thoughts & emotions into words, so where do I begin..
I´ll begin by saying that Lisbon has been my favourite city so far. For many reasons, but one in particular – it feels like home.
I was raised in a home with many Portuguese influences. Both my mother and father grew up in Lisbon and I grew up eating Portuguese food, being surrounded by relatives speaking the language (still to this day) and hearing stories of my mothers adolescent years there. So naturally I would be inclined to favour this city, but it´s so much more than that. To be able to have seen the streets that my mother grew up in and to see her face light up as we crossed over the border from Spain to Portugal, is indescribable. She was last there 16 years ago and at times I could see her struggling to remember certain parts of her surroundings, which broke my heart. But there were also times when she beamed with happiness at the simplest of things, like eating a dessert she´d eaten growing up, which she hasn’t yet been able to find in Australia. The dessert is travesseiro for those of you who may know where we can get our hands on some!
It’s been a whirlwind 3 weeks.. From spending quality time with family, to walking through and exploring medieval castles and villages, to seeing the most amazing coastlines, to making new friends in bars and writing my name on some door along a dingy street during a drunken night in Bairro Alto.. I’ve loved every minute of it and am still trying to soak it all in!
Something I recommend you do in Portugal, is head out to the coastal towns like Peniche and Cascais! The surf culture is unreal and the people are as easy going as they come. Also, if you get the chance – head to Belém and try the original pastéis de nata at Pastéis De Belém! This is something that’s been on my bucket list since 2009 and I can finally tick the little bastard off.
I’ll leave my opinions on Prague, Madrid and Vienna short and sweet for you all:
This is where I had my first WOW moment! The minute we arrived into the main square of Prague is when I finally started to feel like I was about to embark on an epic journey! The streets were buzzing with music and food and excited eyes and I couldn’t help but smile and be as equally enthralled as the people surrounding me. We stayed in the Vinohrady district and if there’s one thing I could recommend to you if you ever visit Prague – go to Mama Coffee!! There are 4 of their cafe’s throughout Prague and we went to the one on Londýnská every morning. The vibe of this place is unreal and the coffee is easily some of the best I’ve ever had. You won’t regret making the trip! Take it from an avid coffee drinker and someone who thrives off a good vibe. On the subject of good vibes, be sure to also visit the John Lennon Wall.. It’s a wall in Prague that’s been filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti since the 1980’s! There was also a guy there playing acoustic Beatles songs, which got me right in the feels. Peace, love & all that..
They say Spain never sleeps and I’m so happy I got to experience this beautiful city! Walking around the markets with a cup of sangria at 10pm on a Monday night, witnessing peoples nights just commencing is crazy! This is something you NEVER see in Australia. I now understand their need for a siesta.. If I was up all night drinking on a weekday, I’d need to sleep after a midday feed too! Bloody genius. One thing you’ve got to do when you’re here is go to the Mercado de San Miguel! It’s a night market full of food, people, drinks and tunes.. You can thank me later 🙂
It’s a beautiful city, however I find people here to be very reserved and almost robot-like. They’ve banned buskers from the streets, so already that takes the energy out of what otherwise could be a really vibrant city. The foundations are here for this city to be full of life, but there’s just no heart beat for it to strive off. Again, like any place, I’m sure it’s who you know that will make your time here special! So I’m looking forward to the new faces I’m going to meet and hopefully being able to change my initial perspective of this city..
As the family leg of this Eurotrip comes to an end, I’ll be spending the next month living in Vienna and travelling to surrounding cities & countries. At least a week in Budapest, a few days in Turkey, a quick trip to the Croatian Coast, a day trip to Bratislava and a visit to the Austrian Alps are all on the cards! So until next time peeps..
Nashle, Adiós, Adeus & Auf Wiedersehen xx
What I’ve learnt: I love laughing, because it’s the same in every language.