For the most part, I have been fortunate with the location of my homes, whether it be proximity to shopping or transportation. In Berlin, everything was accessible on foot, bus or any other means of transportation, if it couldn’t be delivered. Here in Portugal, don’t laugh, I am never far from food in one way or another. How I have managed to lose weight in the process I can’t explain it, but I suppose living in a city full of steps, hills, slopes and a myriad of inclines helps keep me on the move. I do miss the flatlands, only to the extent that I can run faster from point A to B rather than huff and puff my way up or down.
The location of the first hostel I stayed in was picturesque, I’ll give you that, but located at the junction of steep roads that made my heart stop each time I looked out. So it was a welcome change to move to the relatively flat lands of Vila Franca, so close to the river. I can’t complain, and this being Portugal, I literally just have to roll out of bed to land in food. The main entrance to my current place is sandwiched between a pizza delivery service and an Indian restaurant. Oh joy! My bedroom is right above the pizza place, so I have this constant aroma of baking pizzas drifting up and into my room. God it was torture during Lent! So the first day back to work right after Easter I succumbed to temptation and stopped at my torture masters and treated myself to a shrimp and tuna pizza. Heavenly doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling. It may not have been the perfect pizza, but gee wiz did I enjoy it!
Last night, after a long day of work and an even longer journey home, I decided to go on kitchen strike and visit the Indian restaurant next door. Much to my delight, there was Punjabi music playing when I walked in, and the guys running the place couldn’t have been more Punjabi if I asked, with the rough, brusque manner but very friendly and accommodating. I went all out and ordered naan, samosas and chicken tikka, with the intention of saving the chicken and naan for my lunch the next day. You should have seen the waiter’s face when I placed the order in Hindi and thanked him accordingly. If I could have taken a picture of his eyes bulging out it would have been priceless! Why do you speak Hindi? You watch a lot of Bollywood movies? he sputtered. Explaining that I lived in Delhi for many years was something he had trouble wrapping his head around, having even more trouble reconciling my features with my answer that I am German (saying that still costs me great difficulty). Where are you staying? was the next question, and when I pointed to the building next door he beamed. Oh good, so you come everyday now! Fat chance buddy, neither my budget nor my pants would survive that! Besides, there are so many other places around town to visit!
Living above these two temptations is undoubtedly the ultimate test to willpower, and thank goodness I love cooking so much otherwise I would have to roll over to the train station everyday.