Lisbon - First Impression

It is cold in Lisbon the Portuguese say. Supposedly the coldest winter in 200 years. I am laughing inside. In Amsterdam it is minus 3 at the time of writing. In Lisbon it is 13 degrees. Muito frio? Não. Just perfect. Gazing into the bright sun that shines over the Tagus. Lisbon is warm. Its people are welcoming, the city retains its bubbly atmosphere despite the winter days, and smiles are easy to catch. When I arrived here this is exactly what I hoped for: a little bit more warmth in terms of temperature, but also in lifestyle.

When in a new city and in search of cool and creative people, where to go? Working on my projects from cosy coffee places and strolling around the cobblestone streets of the city were entertaining for a while. However, to fully indulge in the city and in need of a more permanent workplace I tested my luck by contacting Startup Lisboa with the question: ‘do you have a spare desk available’? After a few e-mails and an appointment all was set. ‘No worries, we are a family here, we will make something work for you’, was their response. Proved once again: Lisbon is warm.

Just a few days in and everyday I meet new people, hear different stories and learn about life in Lisbon. Did I know the best way to outline the marketing strategy of the start up I work for? Apparently the book Traction should be on everyone’s bedside table to find out. Or when ending up in a conversation in the elevator, what do you do? You go for a coffee and continue. Or are you having any questions about your business? Just post them in the Facebook group. Within a few minutes answers and help are provided.

Whereas one would expect these start ups to be competitive, all working towards similar big dreams and with inexhaustible energy, here they complement one another. An ecosystem of openness and cooperation has emerged just around the corner of Praça do Comércio. And is that not exactly what the world needs? A little bit more warmth and togetherness and a little bit less egocentrism. Because alone you go faster but together you get further.

Although it seems the cold weather is occupying the Portuguese minds during these January days, their warm hearts are visible in many areas. Startup Lisboa is definitely a place one can find this.

Now, when I hear someone complain about being cold, all I think of is the Portuguese saying mãos frias coração quente. Bem vindo a Lisboa!

 

About Maud:

Maud is temporarily living in Lisbon - she is the project manager of a Dutch startup and is finishing up her Master in International Relations. Tired of the cold winter in Amsterdam, she decided to soak up some sun and enjoy life in Lisbon for a while. In this blog you read all about her impressions of the city and life at Start Up Lisboa'.