Bom Dia, Lisboa! In a new look – #companystyle – and with three phrases in Portuguese in our luggage last weekend, it was finally time: the 72-hour team offsite in Lisbon
The Portuguese capital on the Atlantic ultimately beat Tallinn and Tel Aviv in a selection process via Slack that was comparable to the Olympics in terms of complexity. Since the trip would take place in mid-October, many hoped for a last escape from the Bavaria’s chilly forerunners of winter. And the Portuguese weather gods smiled on us:
After our landing on a cloudy, rainy Thursday evening at Lisbon Portela Airport, the city presented itself from its best side on Friday morning.
A half-hour walk led us to the first item on the agenda: the office of the property-technology start-up Casafari, from serial entrepreneur Nils Henning. Over the course of about two hours, Mr. Henning told us his most exciting anecdotes and insights from three start-ups, two company sales and the Lisbon tech scene. Immediately afterwards, at a Nunatak community lunch at Beta-i, the innovation hub par excellence in Lisbon, we met numerous local founders and start-ups, who – lucky for us – had accepted our invitation. Until now, the events had focused on the intellect of the participants. Now it was time to focus on the relaxation of the soul. Just in time for the catamaran ride on the Tagus River, the sun broke through the clouds for good and gave us a dreamlike sunset over the water. And also a gigantic reminiscence of a different kind burned itself permanently into all minds (and ears) this evening. For dinner at the Ponto Final, we were served excellent fish prepared in different styles, and started the evening program with some Portuguese specialty wine and beer. To summarize the hours that followed at Ponto Final would go far beyond the scope of this article, so we’ll limit ourselves to the two-word version: Bairro Alto.
The next day began with tired faces, when at 9 o’clock the departure to the surf beach Praia de Carcavelos was on the agenda. The time difference of one hour seemed to cause the team more trouble than expected. Nevertheless, at 10 o’clock on the dot, about 15 neoprene-clad Nunatakeers plunged into the thundering waves of the Atlantic, while from the sand brave yoga practitioners greeted them with the downward dog pose. Afterwards, the fearless surfers in particular insisted on the quickest possible intake of nourishment, to replenish their depleted food reserves. As if through wise foresight, a culinary tour through Portugal’s specialties was on the agenda for the rest of the day. After the plentiful consumption of bifana, croquetes and bacalhau paired with green, red or white wine, it was time for a nightcap. There was something for everyone on the more than recommendable roof terrace of the Rio Maravilha in the LX Factory district. While some enjoyed the fantastic view of Lisbon’s landmark, the Ponte 25 de Abril, other Nunatakeers managed to leave a lasting impression on the locals on the salsa dance floor. But this evening would not be complete without a short visit to the Barrio Alto and the Pink Street, to collect memories lost the night before.
Arriving cloaked in bright sunshine, Sunday morning was the crowning glory of the trip – although once again complicated by the time difference. It was time for a tour along the Tagus River, from Praça do Comércio square to Lisbon’s Belém district, equipped with the latest pedelec technology created by Portuguese and/or Chinese engineering. Amid former port buildings and docks, an impressive variety of bars, restaurants and sports facilities revealed itself. If the plane hadn’t been waiting in the evening, we might still be sitting at the pier in Belém today, a glass of wine in one hand, a pastel de nata in the other, enjoying the view of the Ponte 25 de Abril and thinking, “Muito obrigado, Lisboa, foi um prazer conhecer-te!”