Europe

Big City Livin VS Off The Beaten Path…

Lisbon was what I expected it to be, a big hub city full of tourists looking up and taking selfies in front of trams and signs. Don’t get me wrong, I do love cities but more often than not they are all quite similar. You have your tourist section filled with many shopping malls and strips lined with tourist priced cafes and restaurants that are usually twice as much as you would pay 20 mins away for the same item. This spot usually isn’t too far from a harbour or ocean front (not in all cases) You have to pay 3€ to go into what they call a botanical gardens that looks like every free park you’ve walked through so far. Amongst all of the streets you can expect fountains, arches and large war memorial statues. Yes, it is beautiful and I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful in any way but once you see one, it’s like you’ve seen them all. There are occasions where a big city will surprise me such as Porto but it hasn’t happened all that often. Porto was unique, rich in culture and the city was so diverse and absolutely gorgeous. I always get more excited for names I haven’t heard of, towns off the beaten path that might be described as “a village” or “quaint”. This may be because I was raised in a place as such but regardless, I find myself so drawn to them. I find now I dont really get excited for big names like Lisbon or Paris — to be honest they tend to be my least favourite. Take Australia for example, Sydney was beautiful and so was Melbourne, both definitley a must see, but it was the little hidden gems where I fell in love. Port Douglas, my heart is forever there. In Asia it was ko samui or phi phi that were the must see but my favourite place by far was Ko Lanta. Now on this trip I’ve fallen for Nazaré which I only found from reading other travel blogs and Marseille in South France that Mark had found doing research. Places away from the hustle and bustle of what every big city offers. Where we can spend our days going to markets, riding bikes, catching up on laundry, walking instead of running to catch a city bus and spend a day relaxing at a park or beach. My favourite places so far in all my travels have been found by taking a chance, stepping out of the comfort of the “must see places” and taking a shot at that one article you found about that small surfing village no one has heard of, the tiny spot on the map you have to zoom in super close to find that lies right along the ocean. It might take longer to get to but my experiences have shown me that in the end, it has always been worth it. Backpacking in itself can be intimidating. Even to this day, the amount of times I’ve done it and I still get those feelings. To be honest I don’t think they ever go away but I’m forever glad i don’t listen to them. It’s what makes my trips unique and exciting. And I couldn’t encourage you more to do the same.

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