Lisboa: A Cidade das Sete Colinas – The City of Seven Hills

Posted By: Nyasha Sarju
Posted On: January 17th, 2017
Attending: Ulster University

If you’ve been following my blog you will sense a longing for home – home the place but more importantly home the people and home the feeling. Have you ever traveled somewhere that you fell in love with, left it briefly, and then returned? It is an interesting phenomenon, especially when a place is new and technically holds no weight of ownership in your own life. The same thing can happen with people, too. Say you are with the love of your life, then you depart them for a day or two, and then you return again. Even though you were just with that person, that small time apart gives you a new and exciting feeling once you are again in their presence. Contrast this with spending two weeks straight with that person. It is human nature to long for the things we love. You know that saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder”? Its sort of like that but a little different. Maybe more like separation allows the heart to long. If you long for too long though, I think maybe that just turns to extended pain. But if you long for just the right amount, before your hope turns to despair, the thirst for more can be quenched. It sounds a little addictive, which is potentially problematic, but for positivity’s sake I’ll spare you all my psychological evaluation of the flip side of longing.

I am learning something interesting about travel and human behavior. Say you only have one day to be in a place – you are likely to go all over that place, turn it upside down, and find everything you can see in the next 24 hours. In contrast, say you have a week in a place, you may spend a few days exploring and a few days relaxing, but as you get closer to your departure you might feel the urgency to see as much as you can. It is at the end and the beginning of experiences that we often seek to gain the most out of something; however during the time in between it is easy to fall into a comfortability and potentially a complacency that does not motivate us to grasp what is right at our fingertips. Now, I am not making a judgment about these stages as bad or good or healthy or unhealthy, I just find it fascinating how our experiences change when constricted by time. Most of us cannot live our lives on turbo mode 100% of the time. To relax and take in is necessary to consolidate and reflect upon the experiences we have when we are going nonstop. This equilibrium in life is one it seems most of us are constantly trying to seek. Wanting to be purposeful and action oriented but not wanting to be overwhelmed by stress and exhaustion. Wanting to engage in relationships and social lives but not wanting our existence to be meaningless to the betterment of the world around us. Wanting to engage politically and seek change but not wanting to become discouraged by the difficulty of moving a needle in history.

My family vacation seemed to perfectly capture this equilibrium, to quench the thirst of longing for both people and places, and to invigorate my soul to want more out of my own experiences. When I left Lisbon after spending 24 hours mining the city for all of its gold, I knew that there were still many stones unturned and thus I awaited eagerly my return. This time, I would return with my family, and though I had only spent one day in the city, I longed to share with them that feeling of the sun leaving an indelible kiss on your cheek. We spent most of our days getting late starts despite telling ourselves we would be up early to take on the day. We lacked the urgency that propelled me like a madwoman through the city on my first day. However, we woke up and took in the sun from the deck of our Airbnb as we read our books, sipped tea together, or simply sat allowing the sounds of the birds and people laughing to infiltrate our every sense. We enjoyed walking around different Lisbon neighborhoods, trying on clothing in the cool concept shops, small companies who made their clothing at their own factories in Porto or other towns around Portugal. The sun was ALWAYS shining. We enjoyed visiting beautiful churches, taking in the view from multiple miradouras in the city of seven hills, walking along the water, visiting the town of Sintra, full of many palaces and castles from historic times. I find it hard to write about each of our experiences directly because as I type words that are meant to describe our experiences in both Granada and Lisbon I feel they fall vastly short of encompassing the true feel of our time in these places. So instead of boring you all with subpar descriptions I will simply wow you with some beautiful pics courtesy of the iPhone 5s. Obrigada!

Stay Updated! Sign up to our newsletter

Stay Updated! Sign up to our newsletter