A Lisbon Story

There is so much colour on the streets of Lisbon. The streets are all neutrals–typically at least three shades–but the houses are coated in bright plaster or decorated in patterned tiles from street to roof. There is little other decoration on the houses. Mostly just one pattern of tile or one bright colour. Joyful elegance.

There is lots to love about Lisbon: the constant surprise of steep elevation in the streets; the vintage trams that people run up to and jump on the doorway, holding on for a couple streets before jumping off again; the local markets that overflow with fresh seafood (we bought two large pieces of tuna belly for 5 eu), veggies, and bouquets of herbs (we bought a huge bag sized bundle of mint for 1 eu); the local boutiques that offer bespoke clothing; the waterfront that features cheap and quick service to the points along the river (1.20 eu and service every 10 mins); the restoration of buildings–a local shop has a baroque interior original to the building; the people walk slowly, sit in public squares without food or coffee and chat with friends, and they are kind and helpful and interject when waiters don’t quite understand why you don’t want bread and slowly pronounce the Portuguese word for lupini beans; and generally, it feels very relaxed. Lisbon has its own elegance that does not need comparisons to other European cities (I loathe it when cities are compared to Paris, as if Paris is only elegant European capital).

This character from Wim Wender’s A Lisbon Story moves through some of the sounds of Lisbon:

Yesterday we took the ferry across to Almada. It was a quick 10 minute voyage that offered a beautiful view of the city. We walked through abandoned warehouses, took an elevator up the side of the rock, visited an art gallery, and took a short pilgrimage to visit Christo Rei. The temperature was at least 35 celsius yesterday, and so the uphill walk was gruelling. The visit to the top of the structure was well worth it. After the walk we were both ready for dinner on the shoreline at Porto Final. The slow service gave us time to rehydrate and relax, and enjoy the view of the sun moving across the surface of the water.

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