I walked down to the waterfront today and it remembered me.
The last time that we were together I was soaring along the promenade on a bicycle. This was four years ago when I was travelling with some girl friends and we were searching for the most perfect Belem tart in town. The memories all came rushing back to me, when I smelt the salty sea air.
How wonderful it is to live in this city!
To have the time to saunter through her streets with no directions. To check out every corner and every crevice that catches your eye. There’s an ease involved in knowing that your time’s not running out. There’s a confidence in knowing that you have so much left to explore and all of the time to do it.
I refer to Lisbon as a her because she’s most definitely a she.
She’s pretty, proud, colourful and sweet. She’s one of the oldest major cities in Europe and when you visit her, you’ll know what I mean. If Athens is Adam, then Lisbon is Eve. Athens will aways be the first and we won’t argue with that. He may be in ruins, but he’s still strong and standing. Athens is powerful, indestructible even. But Lisbon, she’s just so sweet.
The sidewalks are made from cobblestones here and the sun shines unapologetically in August. It sits in the sky and watches over the city, kissing my skin with its golden glow. When I first arrived in Lisbon I thought that the clouds were mad at me for leaving. I didn’t see any for the first few days. But today, they came out and crowded the sky. You’ve made your point, clouds.
I found myself at the market. I think that’s where I was going all along. It’s where I hid from the sun and where I wrote this note. The mercado is amazing and a goldmine of treasures. All the best restaurants and chefs in town have claimed their stakes at the stalls there.
My first true taste of Lisbon was perfect. Thinly sliced Iberia ham, drizzled with olive oil and served on two tiny toasts. When I was finished and just one step from wandering away, a small, quiet side stall caught my eye and invited me over. I ordered two crunchy croquettes filled with rich duck meat, perfectly paired with sweet orange jam from the Algraves. One glass of Rose, please.