Lackluster Lisbon wasn’t as sparkly as I thought

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Now, before anyone trips over themselves to tell me how great Lisbon is and I'm crazy for not agreeing, allow me to explain.

I don't disagree Lisbon is beautiful. I don't disagree there's a lot of rich history. I don't disagree Lisbon has a special place in Portuguese culture.

Maybe it was just a bad month for me. Maybe the juxtaposition from Cape Town was too stark. Maybe it was because I had a rough time at work. Maybe it was because I had never been to Europe before and didn't really know what to expect.

I've thought about this a lot, trying to work out why I feel so ambivalent about it. While those were certainly contributing factors, there was still something missing from the city by the sea. There were people everywhere, but it felt empty. There were plenty of places to go, but they all looked the same.

I heard about the history, but I couldn't feel it. I was immersed in the culture, but I couldn't see it.

We watched a really incredible documentary about how mass tourism is having...