How (Not) to Celebrate the New Year in Lisbon [A Diary]

11:00 Let’s get the last day of the year started by celebrating the New Year in Lisbon! Waking up late cause it will make 2016 pass by even quicker. Whatever was this year?! Might as well keep my eyes closed.

How (Not) to Celebrate the New Year in Lisbon [A Diary]

11:30 First achievement of the day: getting out of bed. This is going great!
12:00 Scrubbed off this year’s dirt; now fresh and shiny again. Had the ingenious idea of taking a portable heater into the freezing bathroom of my airbnb to surive the icy blasts of the water. Feeling energised and proud of myself.
12:30 Still deciding what to eat for breakfast – between an apple, milk and cereal, it seems like I am off to a healthy diet. For once. At least I tried in 2016.
15:00 Who needs tea time when you can have a late lunch?
15:05 Frantically racing to the supermarket on the corner as I forgot stores would be closed on January 1 (which is also a Sunday). Where is my mind?!

15:10 Good, I am not the only one who forgot. The whole district is here as well. What a way to prep for the New Year in Lisbon.
15:15 Thinking it might be a good idea to balance a selection of single vegetables and fruits while dragging a 5L bottle of water behind me to the cashier. It isn’t.
15:20 Congratulating myself on bringing my backpack with me to carry all the water and healthy food. Maybe I can take this sudden burst of confidence and healthy lifestyle with me into the New Year?
17:00 Still lying on my bed, binge watching youtube. Making a mental note to close the laptop and head out to the mall. I need to stop freezing and finally buy a sweater or two. Why did I think I was a packing pro anyway? Maybe I should check weather reports BEFORE each trip.

17:59 Heat my dinner in the microwave.
18:00 Quick google check reveals that stores close in an hour. It takes 30 minutes to get to the closest mall. I’m screwed!
18:15 Managed to dress myself.
18:18 Head out to the metro just in time for the train to arrive. I can make it!
18:19 I am standing at the wrong platform. I can still make it over!
18:20 Train doesn’t arrive. I realise I am waiting for the wrong metro line.
18:21 Train has come and left. Without me.
18:22 Need to rearrange my plans. Feeling grateful for free wifi.

18:30 Finally on the right train to a mall that is 5 minutes closer. This better work out!
18:45 Using my ninja skills to race through the panicky crowd that pours into the mall for some super last minute grocery shopping. Makes me feel better about my earlier mishap. But I need to focus.
18:46 Spotted an H&M with sale signs in the windows! This is a heaven sent.
18:50 Taking a wooly cardigan, gloves and massive scarf to the end of a long queue. (A scarf can be wrapped around the head, right? Congratulating myself on not having to buy a hat. My wallet chimes in happily.)
18:55 Inwardly pushing the queue faster or making time slow down. I can’t decide; maybe that’s why it’s not working.
18:59 Make it out of the shopping centre. Got warm stuff, lost some nerves and money but feeling more confident.

19:30 Back in my room, I realise that I’m hungry and that my cold dinner has been waiting for me in the microwave. Bonus!
20:00 Finalise end-of-year purchase on Amazon. Really need to step up my blogging game with new equipment.
20:30 Prepping myself to head out early for the New Year’s Eve show on the plaza.
20:31 Start watching a youtube video. Only one.
21:00 Angry at youtube for seducing me once again. Grab my pre-packed bag (yay, for foresight!) and race to the metro.
21:05 Find that metro station is closed due to reasons unbeknownst to me. Wishing I spoke Portuguese to figure out the mystery. Portuguese woman explains it to me in Portuguese. Wishing I spoke Portuguese to figure out the mystery. Maybe I learn a few more phrases in the New Year while I’m still in Lisbon.

21:15 Getting on the metro at the next station. Already feeling sweaty underneath my tons of extra layers. This better be worth it!
21:30 Supposed to be at the plaza. Realise I am back at the closed shopping centre. I got on the wrong train. What is this day?!
22:30 Finally at the plaza. Reminding myself to buy a book to entertain myself on long train rides. Then, reminding myself to check trains better to avoid long train rides next year.
22:35 Why are people so chill here in Lissabon? Families are dining in the streets. Crowds are casually strolling to the plaza. No crazy people firing off noisy fireworks. No drunk kids yelling in the streets.
22:36 Paranoidly checking the date on my phone. Feeling silly.
22:45 Raced to the plaza just to find that there is still plenty of space. All the casual strollers haven’t made it here yet.

23:00 Phoning German family and friends to congratulate them on living in the future.
23:45 Plaza is packed now. Concert ends. People start popping bottles of champagne.
23:59 People start counting down. Wishing I spoke Portuguese. Making random speaking motions to pretend as if I knew Portuguese.
0:00 Yay! Fireworks.
0:15 New Year Fireworks are over, people start leaving the square. Groups of teens holding hands start pushing towards the square. What am I missing?
0:20 Went with the flow (aka jumped from tiny gap to tiny gap in the masses). Ended up at the edge of the square, still wondering where I should go next. No need to decide. There is literally hardly a way out.

0:56 Mastered the 10-minute walk from the plaza to the metro station in under an hour. Feeling blessed.
0:05 Scored a seat on the packed tram. Feeling even more blessed.
0:10 People in front of the window make wild gestures and snap at the train doors. Feel as if in a live action zombie movie. Blessed I am not.
0:20 Person next to me sneezes. Bless them!
1:00 Standing in front of locked metro doors. Already swiped my card to get out. Trapped.
1:02 Squeezing in after drunk couple to not have to swipe again. Ninja skills!
1:05 Spot an open gate and race past the confused crowd towards another exit that is about to be closed.

1:06 Taking in the fresh air of the outsides. New Year in Lisbon doesn’t even smell like it. All very normal.
1:30 Feeling like a super productive blogger by downloading, editing and uploading photos and videos before passing out.
3:30 Passing out before realising this wasn’t productive at all.

Happy New Year in Lisbon!

Travel Tips
Location: Praça do Comércio, Lisbon
Getting there: metro station Terreiro Do Paco; arrive before 11pm and leave after the fireworks to avoid the masses (and the metro shutting down)
What to bring: Wrap up in warm clothes, wear comfortable shoes, leave backpack/bags at home, bring a bottle of champagne and plastic cups

Bonus: Celebrating the New Year in Melbourne

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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    • Gupta
    • 04/01/2017

    Great, that is an awesome place and it has so many good things to enjoy. I really like the beauty of that place. Buildings are the best attraction and so good experience you shared of your trip.

    1. Reply

      Hi Gupta, thanks so much for your comment. Yeah, Lisbon is pretty beautiful and has amazing buildings. Have a great New Year!

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