The walls of London (left) and Lisbon (middle and right).
I stumbled upon Blu murals on my last two trips to Europe. While I love Blu’s mind-blowing wall-painting animations like Big Bang Big Boom and Muto, it’s cool to come upon his still images—and remnants of his animations—on facades around the world. Especially when you’re not looking for them.
One afternoon, I took the tram from Lisbon to nearby Belém, about 15-20 minutes from the city center. The location from where Portuguese voyagers set off to explore the world, Belém packs a lot of history—and grand sights—within its borders.
I usually read up on a city before a visit: customs, an overview of history, must-see spots, restaurants, bars, parks… For Lisbon, however, I chose not to do any research, with the exception of finding my hostel, the Travellers House in historical Baixa. I thought it’d be fun to figure the city out once I got there. The first afternoon I walked Lisbon’s cobbled streets, I was in awe: how old, grand, and elegant the city was, how much history was in front of me. I was blown away by the sweeping views of clustered orange rooftops, especially at the fortified Castelo de Sao Jorge, as well as the sight of creaky yellow elevadores (funiculars) that climb to hilltop neighborhoods and miradouros (viewpoints). I loved riding the yellow trams that weave through the city like a Disneyland attraction, and getting lost in the medina-like Alfama, a district with strong Moorish influences and aesthetics. Lisbon—or Lisboa, as it’s known everywhere else—is a whimsical, world-class city. Five Things I Learned About Lisbon: Prepare to slip and fall. The stones that make …