-Because the white- yellow and the white-blue painted houses and the cobblestoned narrow streets have me rapt, in a daze, forcing me to wander aimlessly through them. I could do this for days, admiring the minimally modernised and well preserved pretty old towns. This picture is from Evora, a UNESCO world heritage site, full of old buildings. Evora is rightly called small-town Portugal at its best.
-Because as an Indian it was exciting to just be in Evora, from where Vasco Da Gama was ordered to discover the Sea Route to India.
-Because the Roman Temple of Diana, the Praça do Giraldo, the Chapel of Bones, the very well preserved Old Town and the second oldest University in Portugal took me centuries back in time.
I was recited a legend about the statue of a Dove in front of the University. It says “the dove will fly away the moment a virgin girl passes by it, but it is still sitting there”. This speaks loads about the Portuguese way of life and keeps me interested further 😉
-Because the people of Portugal are so welcoming, happy, generous and laid back. The moment I met the family (in the pic above) I was supposed to stay with, I realised the time I spent here would be awesome. The first thing they said was “This is your Portuguese home. Would you like to have some wine? ” There isn’t a better way to welcome a stranger. Imagine living amidst this kind of hospitality every day 🙂 for a few days.
-Because I fell in love with Lisboa the moment I landed in the city. It is the biggest city in Portugal but it can still be covered on foot. In fact, the best way to get the feel of the city is by walking around, it just has the perfect cozy feeling intrepid travellers like me long for. A lot of history and architecture, amazing night life, cheap food and cheaper booze, an excellent street music scene and the sine-waved landscape. The city is nothing short of incredible and is one of my favorite places in Europe.
-Because one doesn’t need a map or a guide for discovering places. Everything here is an attraction. Although there is a lot written about places to see and things to do in Lisboa in a lot of travel articles, the best plan is to follow no plan. Any part of the city is equally exciting.
-Because I feel Portugal is one of the best places to live in Europe. It leaves you dumbstruck when you see beauties like these. This country doesn’t live to work for sure, but who cares when they’ve got some of the best wines in the world and they know how to make the most of them.
-Because Portugal has been blessed by nature. Be it landscapes like these, the world famous coast of Nazare which boasts of waves up to 100 feet ( Yes, that’s right – go ahead, Google it right now !!! ) , the coastal region of Algarve famous for its breathtaking beaches and limestone formations and if all this isn’t enough to convince you, go read about the Azores Islands !!
-Because The Pena Palace in Sintra was aptly described by Lord Byron as “Glorioso Eden” meaning the “glorious garden of God … the glorious paradise”. The picturesque beauty as seen from the Moorish Castle was the summer retreat for the royal family of Portugal and is now open to visitors.
-Because coastal Algarve boasts of stunning beaches, crystal clear Atlantic waters, out of the world sunsets, whitewashed fishing villages, killer nightlife and a plethora of seafood and wine that’s best enjoyed with FADO – the traditional Portuguese music.
-Because The University Of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities operating. It not only makes Coimbra an ultra-cosmopolitan town but also the one with the youngest population and thus very happening. It has the reputation of hosting some of the biggest student parties globally.
-Because the town of Coimbra never sleeps, because nowhere in the world do students party the whole week, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the grand party nights, because beer here costs 60 cents at some bars and probably is the cheapest in Europe, because there are loads of house parties that you are always invited to. I went to a LGBT party and the scene was crazy. My friends told me people take 3 years, sometimes even 4, to complete a 2-year program, because of the mega party scene and the love you develop for this majestic town. I stayed 4 days and it was tough to leave !!!
I would never go to Portugal again because it is so very difficult to leave the gorgeous and historical Old Towns; to bid goodbye to the amazing locals; to accept the fact that there is no other city with the charm of Lisboa; to just take back a few memories of a country with such a unique, open and breathtaking nature; to realize you will miss the awesome and cheap beers and wines; to know that there is no other place in the world with the beauty and vibes of Algarve and definitely not another town like Coimbra.
“I WOULD NEVER GO BACK TO PORTUGAL BECAUSE THE HOMECOMING WILL BE ABSOLUTELY AWFUL!!! ”