How the Idea Was Born
I’ve had had many good moments and memories with Lisbon. I’ve also had my quarrels and disappointments with her. Lisbon is, so far, the moodiest city I’ve ever met. Before I decided to leave to the next city (permanently or temporarily, I don’t know yet), I knew I owed her this book.
Lisbon adopted me seventeen years ago and although I never felt entirely like a local, I was never an outcast, a foreigner, a passerby. I’ve seen it grow, suffer, change, perish, survive, celebrate. And she’s seen as much of me, even when all I gave her for ten years were brief visits, always in a rush, always on the way to someplace else.
When I returned last year, I had no idea I’d stay for a year. But she pulled me in, every single time. And I was eager to tell Dhanish all my memories and all my disappointments when I realized a place I used to go to was no longer there. I know Lisbon will heal, past the economic recession that screams to you from every boarded-up building you stumble into. I hope Lisbon will heal.
Tourists come to me often with questions about Lisbon, most of them right there in the middle of the street, and I never answer the same question the same way. I know that not all parts of the city are appealing to everyone; they can’t be. The more I (re-)explored, the more I took notes; the more Dhanish asked me questions, the more I would research. “Lisbon Travel Guide for Urban Explorers” started to take shape even before I knew I wanted to write it.
I struggled for almost two months with that word “guide” in the title. As an independent traveler who likes to get lost and explore on her own, I loathed the idea of mapping the city and leave no stone unturned. What’s the fun in that? On top of that, there was that time I met my fellow travel bloggers Stephanie and Cristina at a certain hype cafe in Chiado. What happened to us that day was not the city I wanted people to see, for sure, and yet that was the city everyone wrote about as THE authentic Lisbon.
So, I took a detour. As I mention in the book introduction, it’s not meant to be a “just add water” travel guide, ready to consume, in a “one size fits all” overload of information. I don’t assume you’re rich or poor. I don’t assume you want to pack as much sightseeing as possible in your 3-day trip. The only assumption I make is that you’re an independent traveler, an urban explorer, who travels for the learning experience. And this guide is for you.
Here is what you’ll find in the book:
- Snippets of History and architecture details of the most popular quarters of Lisbon (with photos);
- List of the recommended sights, with historical and cultural context, organized in categories: gardens and parks, museums, and monuments (including a bonus list of recommended places for kids);
- Tips on where to shop, where to eat out and where to go out;
- A list of local cultural events, music festivals, and film festivals (with a bonus list of the most iconic cultural venues in Lisbon);
- Things you can’t leave without… doing, seeing, drinking, eating;
- Three suggested itineraries to explore most of Lisbon (with maps) and four suggestions of day trips (by train);
- All the practical information you need regarding safety and health, use of public transportation (with Metro map), free WiFi spots, important dates, etc., and a short “language survival kit” for basic communication in Portuguese.
The book is available for $14.99 (US Dollars) on Amazon and on iBooks. I’m an e-reader convert fan, so there isn’t a print version available yet. But if that changes I will, of course, keep you posted!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on “Lisbon Travel Guide for Urban Explorers”!