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In Need of Exercise

We are approaching our last day in Lisbon. What started a bit chilly and rainy has turned into full-on summer weather. In the beginning we had to start the gas heater in the living room occasionally and now it gets up to 29° C / 85° F. We have a lovely apartment, at least double the size of Madrid, with a floor-to-ceiling glass dining/work room situated towards our yard – which has lots of plants, some birds and a cat that visits from time to time. We also have an outdoor kitchen and a grill, which we have made a lot of use of–well, mostly Bee, aka “the grillmaster.”

We are living in Alcântara, halfway between Belém and Bairro Alto, within a few minutes’ walking distance of the LX Factory, a converted former factory with art studios, shops and restaurants. And there’s also a pretty unique bookshop in one of the former factory halls, where I got myself a copy of “Small Memories” by José Saramago. I read “The Elephant’s Journey” a couple of years ago and I’ve liked “Small Memories” so far too. I wanted to read something by a Portuguese author and have decided that I will read a book by an author from every country where I live. I also found more time to read here, since the digital detox I started in Madrid took a different turn here. My phone kept on causing problems and I decided to send it to Berlin for repair. It took a week to arrive there, the courier service was unable to deliver it and it took another week to get back to Lisbon. In the end I went two weeks without a phone. I rely on a phone a lot when navigating a foreign city and had to lean on Bee, mostly following her lead and occasionally checking on her phone in order to get a sense of orientation. I also used her phone occasionally to take some photos, but other than that I did not use a phone for two weeks and I have no regrets – it was truly freeing.

I love pastries quite a lot, and unfortunately, they have a lot of Portuguese pastries, all of which I felt compelled to try, here on our neighborhood’s main road. Naturally I guess I must have gained some weight here, although I can’t say this with certainty, as a consequence of not having had a scale since we started our nomadic journey. After catching colds towards the end of our stay in Madrid, I took a running break for another 10 days. Now I’ve finally started running again, first with 4k uphill runs (in Lisbon it’s mostly hills and rarely flat) to the former royal palace in Ajuda and now, the last four times, with 10k runs along the pier out to Belém and back, trying to undo some of my indulgences. I also got myself a yoga mat, but mostly did only the sun salutation so far. Being in a different city every month, with different culinary delights, needs some serious counter-exercise!

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