Aveiro is a district and city about a 90 minute train ride south of Porto, Portugal (4 euros) or 2.5 hours north of Lisbon via public transport (20 euros). Known for its canals and quaint beach front homes, this region easily became a must see on my itinerary. However, half way through my rather short stay here, I began to question my travel pace and priorities.
After I checked into my accommodations at Aveiro Rossio Hostel, I purchased a discounted ticket from the receptionist for a canal ride ( I think the standard price is 10 euros but I got it for 8). I spent the entire 40 minute boat ride snapping glorified selfies with my tripod. In retrospect, I missed opportunities to connect with the gondola captain and my fellow patrons all for a few Instagram worthy shots. Although I still look cute (or whatever lol) the reason why I travel is to discover beauty in the people and places I visit. Being preoccupied with photography, in this instance, was a distraction from being present.
I visited Praia Costa Nova, a beach town in Aveiro district, early the next morning to get a jump on my day. Unfortunately, I wasn't up as early as I had hoped to be, so instead of taking the bus for about 2 euro one way, I opted for a cab for about 24 euro. (Side note, I waste a lot of money this way...I should probably work on my time management or slow down the pace of my itinerary so I don't feel so rushed.) The town is only about a 15 minute ride away but the cab driver was willing to wait for me for 40 minutes to capture a few images. I wish I could have stayed longer to see more of Praia Costa Nova, grab a meal, and meet a few locals but my schedule would not allow it.
Interesting Fact : My cab driver mentioned that the buildings above were originally fishermen shacks. The various stripe patterns and colors were unique to a specific family line. In other words, vertical green stripe homes belonged to one set of relatives, while yellow horizontal striped homes belonged to another. Now the shacks have mostly been converted into residential homes and this identifier no longer holds true.
Overall, Aveiro taught me some valuable lessons. Here are a few discoveries I made while here: There is a balance between being present and forward thinking. Find it. Aveiro is NOT Venice, even though the comparison is often made. Don't forget to celebrate the uniqueness of a place. Also, you are NOT anyone else. Be uniquely you. When you find yourself distracted by the what, where, and how, center yourself by remembering the why.