First published on Medium.com.

Today was my first full day in Lisbon. I didn’t have a plan for the day, but I had been making a list of “essentials” to pick up.

While chatting with my friend, Tasci, who lives in Prague (same-ish time zone as me, so she was awake in the morning), I mentioned that I need a pillow and she suggested Ikea. Yes!

Now I have a plan. First stop, food.

After chatting with the Verizon help team twice about my international plan not working, I located my lunch destination and left the apartment. It was already past noon and I was definitely starving.

Ao 26 Vegan Food Project was delicious, gorgeous, friendly, and had excellent ambiance. I will definitely go there again. I had a veggie sandwich. Not very adventurous, I know. I’ll do better next time, and I’ll definitely get dessert. Grateful to have found a place that’s all vegan.

I decided to buy a 30-day metro pass, since I had to take 2 busses to Ikea, and 2 busses back, and I don’t know the system. I’d like to have an unlimited pass so I can travel with confidence. The waitress told me which station to go to — my favorite, Baixa-Chiado. I walked there, pulling my shopping bag behind me.

From there, I took a train north so I could catch a bus to Ikea. I got stuck in the metro station! You have to scan your metro card on your way in to the trains, and also on your way out. Well, I couldn’t get out, despite filling up my card with 8 rides! It finally worked and I made my way out.

Every metro stop is a different kind of beautiful. ❤

It took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. for me to catch my bus. Totally my fault. Get on the bus quickly, Milo. And I arrived at Ikea.
Was it weird to go shopping at a huge chain store my first day here? No. I needed a pillow and some other little household items that I knew I could find (cheap) at Ikea. I succeeded.

Fed up with the metro system (and wanting to get home to Imogen), I took an Uber home. Did you know they have UberGreen? Yeah! My Uber driver drove a Nissan Leaf and was clearly troubled by the dirty-exhaust-spewing Smart car who passed us on the highway. Diogo (Uber driver) is a fan of the Sporting football club.

Back to my apartment, Imogen is hiding under the bed. I’m looking forward to spending more time with her. If I’m in the apartment, I know I’ll work, and I don’t want to be on the computer more than necessary because I don’t have a power converter and I don’t know if I can damage my mac if I plug it in, so trying to save power. So this weekend is for exploring.

It’s nearly 7pm and I don’t have any idea what I’m making for dinner. There’s a grocery store 10 minutes walk from here, so I grab my wheeley shopping bag and head right out the door. I got the “Terra Milo Traveling Special,” consisting of pasta, mushrooms, tomato, zucchini, red pepper, and onion. Sautéed the veggies and cooked the pasta. Now and I have lunch and dinner for days! I really need to find another recipe.

Things I learned

Mornings are quiet — my friends are mostly on the east coast, so they sleep until noon my time.

I must make a schedule for myself, otherwise I could waste the whole morning every day. It’s fine to rest sometimes, but I love structure.I’m madly in love with the city, despite all the hills.

I’m madly in love with the city, despite all the hills.Traffic is chaos. I don’t want to drive a car, but get me on a scooter asap!

Traffic is chaos. I don’t want to drive a car, but get me on a scooter asap!

It takes 1–4 days to get a 30-day metro pass, and I have to submit a form and a photo. So official.

There are some big dogs who come outside to bark from 7–8:30pm, scaring Imogen into hiding. She also growls when she hears people walking in the apartment building. I do love her little growl.

Mistakes

I’ve eaten bread/wheat for all 3 meals. I do think the wheat is different here in Europe, but I’d like to make better choices going forward.

sat on the sunny side of the bus on a hot and sunny day. Have I mentioned the hills? I was already sweaty so this wasn’t a brilliant idea.

I got stuck in the metro and at IKEA! Saída means exit, but I learned that after a few hours, and it’s still not that easy to find.

Questions

What can I do to not look like an American the second I walk into a place? The waitresses at Ao 26 immediately spoke English to me. Was it because I said bom dia instead of boa tarde? I’m not sure I’ll ever get that right. Maybe it’s because I had a camera.

Overall

I’d give today a B+. I loved walking around the city without a clear agenda, but that lack of plan got me out of the apartment later than I’d like, which means I got home later that I want.

It’s 10:40pm and I’m hungry. Jetlag has hit my digestive system.

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