If you didn’t get it from the last two travel blog posts, I’m moving to Portugal! Not only am I moving away from the 2nd largest city in Europe, but I’m also moving to the countryside, which means saying goodbye to all the comforts of living in a big city. I feel like I’m ready for it though. I dream of open landscapes, quiet and peaceful days making my own bread and jam, and having fresh air again. Basically, living like an old lady.
Today I share with you the top things I love about living in a big city in Europe. Lisbon actually has all these things but #5, so I won’t be too far away from the conveniences of city life. I’m looking for a property within an hour of Lisbon, so I can take a short car ride to the city when I’m feeling isolated or lonely.
1. Lots of Vegan Food Options
Having tasty and easily available vegan options at restaurants is probably the thing I will miss the most about living in a big city. Thankfully the grocery stores in Portugal have all the vegan goodies you could want, but vegan restaurants (or tasty options at any restaurant) are hard to come by in the smaller cities. Lisbon and Porto are havens for awesome vegan food but when you step outside of those cities the options are limited. While this is a plus for big cities, it also means I haven’t been cooking as much and inevitably eating less healthily. So you could call it a plus and a minus! Living in the countryside means I will eat more healthfully than I have been in Berlin.
2. Awesome Public Transportation
I have really loved not owning a car for the last two years. Big cities offer the best public transportation so you don’t have to have a car or ever worry about driving or parking. Ugh, parking and driving in Lisbon are the worst! Granted, it can make certain things more of a hassle, like when you want to buy furniture at IKEA. But overall, this is one of the pluses of living in a big city. Lisbon and Porto have great public transit, but since I’ll be living in the countryside, I will have to own a car again and drive. (I actually bought a car in January while I was visiting Portugal over the holidays!)
3. Grocery Delivery
Not driving means you haul your groceries by foot and oat milk isn’t light. When I discovered I could have my groceries delivered for a measly 1.99€ charge, I was all for it. Having your groceries delivered is one of the most convenient things about living in a big city. Not only does it save your back, but it also saves you time, and time is money! Bringmeister is the company I use and it almost has everything I need. They stock many organic products and bio produce, along with vegan food items from Edeka and Alnatura. It’s a 40€ minimum order, which gets me basically all the groceries I need for the week. I highly doubt there are any grocery delivery services that deliver to the countryside in Portugal. I’ve even read that many delivery services charge an extra fee to deliver packages to desolate areas!
4. Many Events and Ways to Meet People
One of the best things about living in any big city across the world is the number of events and activities one can choose from every single night. If you have a particular hobby or just new to town, there is probably a plethora of Meetup groups to join. Since veganism is important to me, the first thing I did when I moved to Berlin was joined vegan meetups and Facebook groups and start going to events. I made a lot of friends this way, and quickly was able to establish a core vegan friend group. This is gold when you move to a new city where you have no friends. Moving to a small village or the countryside doesn’t give as many choices for activities or ways to meet new people. Not to mention, dating becomes more difficult. As a single woman, I’m a little bit nervous about the fact that I’m moving to a smaller country that has fewer people in general. Then top that off with moving to the countryside. If you know any really cool single men who are open to moving to Portugal, hit me up lol.
5. Sauna Culture and Body Freedom
This one is particular to Germany because it was in Berlin that I was introduced to saunas and spa culture. Europeans, in general, seem less prude and self-conscious of their bodies. In Germany, saunas are coed so the men are with the women, and everyone is just naked together. Bodies are just bodies, and no one is oversexualized. This is something that has become so refreshing! I even found a lake to swim in the summers that is clothing optional. There’s nothing more freeing than swimming in nature in your natural state. From what I’ve gathered so far, Portugal is a bit more conservative. But I did do a quick Google search and found there are places in Lisbon where I can get my sauna on, and nude beaches.
Things I Won’t Miss Living in a Big City
Trashy, Dirty Streets, & Dog Poop Everywhere
I don’t understand it, but people in many European cities tend to not pick up after their dogs. When I walk down the street in Berlin, I’m always looking down so I don’t step in any shit. Also, there is trash everywhere. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t witness someone littering. I’m sure people do this in the countryside too, but you aren’t walking everywhere so probably don’t see it as much!
My upstairs neighbor has a teenage boy who blasts base-heavy music and stomps around like an ape. Also, I live above a kindergarten and hear screaming kids all day. These are definitely things I will not miss! But you have to be careful of barking dogs in Portugal because people leave them chained and caged outside all day. This is a definite negative about PT.
Have you ever moved to a rural area from a big city? Can you relate to this article? Got any tips for me on how to stay sane? Let me know in the comments!