Jonathan Sumner Evans
Sumner Evans
Software Engineer at Beeper

Lisbon, Portugal - Day 1

Posted on in Trip to Portugal and France • 739 words • 4 minute read
Tags: Travel, Lisbon, Portugal, Taekwondo

After the week of the work retreat, I am staying in Europe for another week (until next Sunday). The first four days are going to be in Lisbon, and then I’m heading to Paris for a few days before flying home.

I caught a ride from the retreat venue to the Lisbon in one of the taxis so that I wouldn’t have to pay as much for a taxi to the hostel that I was staying at.

I’m staying at the Good Morning Hostel, right in the heart of Lisbon between the old town (Alfama) and the newer (though still centuries old) Bairro Alto. I arrived around 9:00 in the morning, so my bed was not ready, but I got to look around the hostel and it is a very cosy, friendly atmosphere.

After leaving my bags for the day, I arrived in the morning and left my bags and walked towards Campo de Ourique, a neighborhood to the west of the hostel. My destination: a taekwondo school in the same organization as my taekwondo school at home (ATA). When I arrived, I was able to meet Mr. Pererra, the head instructor at the location, but unfortunately, they were in the middle of renovations, so classes were cancelled for the day.

The plaque in the background is from when the then Grand Master Candidate M.K. Lee visited for the grand opening of the school.

Mr. Pererra and a few of his students at STAT Campo de Ourique

The plaque in the background is from when the then Grand Master Candidate M.K. Lee visited for the grand opening of the school.

Luckily, STAT has multiple locations, and another location (Restelo) was open, and Mr. Pererra suggested I Uber over there. I arrived at the end of a beginner class, and right before their Saturday teen/adult class began. Mr. Folgado, a 4th degree and head instructor at the location taught the class.

The workout was great. We focused on round kicks, and we did lots of fun and high-energy drills. I primarily worked with Mrs. Fernandes, a 3rd degree instructor at the school. Most of the adults speak very good English, and so as he instructed, Mr. Folgado graciously used a combination of Portuguese and English so that I could know what to do. Because they are part of the same martial arts organization, all of the techniques are the same, so that was not an issue for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the workout, and everyone was very welcoming and gracious to me despite not knowing any Portuguese.

The teen/adult class at STAT Restelo

I thoroughly enjoyed the workout, and everyone was very welcoming and gracious to me despite not knowing any Portuguese.

I thoroughly enjoyed training in another country with members of the same martial arts organization I’m a part of. Everyone was welcoming and made it a wonderful experience.


After the workout, I took an Uber back to the hostel and ate lunch at a nearby cafe. Then I decided to go for a walk down towards the Tagus River. Lisbon is entirely on the north side of the Tagus, which drains out to the Atlantic.

At the point where Lisbon is built, the Tagus is very wide, it’s effectively a large harbour. Right at the water, a grand square which was built during the height of Portugal’s imperial age.

The square was quite large and was surrounded by former palaces and government offices.

The Praça do Comércio with a statue of King José I

The square was quite large and was surrounded by former palaces and government offices.

I was quite tired after the taekwondo workout and walking around the city, so I headed back to the hostel. By that time, my bed was ready, and I settled in and waited for dinner.

The hostel has an all-inclusive option which includes three meals a day and unlimited beer and sangria. You are required to RSVP for lunch and dinner. Around six o’clock, many of the people staying at the hostel started gathering in the open hang-out area near the bar. I got to talk with lots of people from all over the world. Dinner was served around 8:00 and was delicious. I really enjoyed getting to meet and talk with so many people. The crowd was mainly students and young professionals. There were a few people who were also in engineering or engineering-adjacent fields and many other fields.

Everyone was very friendly and came from such diverse backgrounds. It had a real international feel.

The "family room" area of the hostel

Everyone was very friendly and came from such diverse backgrounds. It had a real international feel.

I went to bed around 10:00 since I was quite tired, and apparently there is a massive holiday tomorrow with parties in the streets that go all night, so I want to be awake enough for that.