It has been just over two weeks since I came to Lisbon, and I feel quite settled now. Here is what the nomading experience has been like so far.
Feeling comfortable with the basics: I know my way around the metro system; where the good grocery stores and supermarkets are (Pingo Doce not Minipreço); my work routine has been implemented; I know how to get to the beach (a popular weekend activity here), all the important stuff.
The hills, trams, and ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’ bridge – which I work near – make me feel a bit like being back in San Francisco (but with better weather). The bridge is absolutely incredible and I am always mesmerised by how tall the supporting pillars underneath are (there must be an official architectural term for these).
In general, people seem more friendly than in London: I have already, in two weeks, probably had more conversations with locals on public transport (which they initiated) than in five years living in London. This has also given me some helpful practice with Portuguese! Muito obrigado!
Some of the systems don’t seem quite as efficient as in other cities, e.g. one time I found myself at Chelas station, which despite being on the metro map, seemed to be abandoned (anyone know?). However, I think the metro is generally very good here, although irritatingly, to get a month pass, a form must be posted. But there is popcorn for sale between lines in some of the stations which more than makes up for this! Take note Green Park station with your lengthy walkways.
Economically, people say there is a wide – and widening gap – between the rich and the poor here, but whilst there are definite signs of wealth, it doesn’t appear to me as gaudy and obtrusive than in other major cities.
The architecture is beautiful, sadly there are many abandoned/derelict buildings, but there seems to be a lot of restoration work in progress which is encouraging.
I am currently living with two Czech women, a French woman and a Portuguese guy. We have a new routine of all having dinner together on a Wednesday, which is great, and I will definitely aim to carry on this tradition wherever I stay. Will miss them when I move on from here.
I still hate that wretched bird, but it only wakes me up sometimes now, although the mosquitos are another problem and they seem to really enjoy taking my blood without my consent.
Work is going fine, lots to do so very busy, I am liking working from Coworklisboa and have met some really great people there. I didn’t enjoy working only from home and in cafes when I was a freelancer a few years ago, and for me, co-working spaces with regulars are much better (all the joys of having colleagues, but without having to work with them).
I have met up with a few other digital nomads which has been great, including a very brave woman from New Zealand who has been a digital nomad for a number of years!
The strangest thing that has happened so far, is talking to a – usually London based – Portuguese woman in the coworking space and discovering that she used to work with, and is friends with, some of my university friends! Small world.
I am understanding the European Portuguese accent much better now, and can ask for basic things in Portuguese. I am going to a ‘language cafe’ early on Monday morning, which I hope will help me to become more confident with my speaking.
A bottle of wine costs much less than in the UK, and a box of Cornflakes is more expensive than a bottle of (good) wine! The milk isn’t very nice and there aren’t – almost entire – supermarket isles dedicated to milk (are Brits weird?), which is annoying because I tend to eat lots of cereal. My simple solution is to have wine on my cereal. Not really.
An espresso is 60cents!
Pastéis de Nata are excellent.
I love this city so far, and am not disappointed by the expectation given by others who have been here.