Our first morning in Lisbon was bursting with light and colour.
Travel is funny sometimes and kind of reminds me of dating. Sometimes, like with a potential mate, you click with a destination upon first meeting: something about your pairing just feels right, even without really knowing why. Other times, your passion for a place builds like a slow burn: only through repeated contact is the flame of love (or extreme like!) ignited, maintained, and cultivated so that it grows strong.
Lisbon was like that for me. I’ve been twice before, in 2004 and 2006, but it wasn’t until my third visit last week that it really made an impression on me. I found myself continually surprised at its character and vibrancy.
Thanks to a bank holiday in the UK, we quitted the doldrums of London– still cold and grey in early May, if you can believe it!– for three days in Portugal’s capital. We arrived too late on Friday evening to do anything, but were up bright and early Saturday morning to explore a little bit before the spa appointment I had at our hotel at noon.
In the 3 hours or so we had to kill we wandered aimlessly, choosing to save the bulk of our serious sightseeing for the afternoon. Starting our stroll near the top of the the tree-lined Avenida de Liberdade, we made our way to the central square (officially known as the Terreiro do Paço, but referred to by locals as the Praça do Commerio), then slightly northward to the Bairro Alto.
Lisbon is situated on the banks of the Tagus river. The bright sunshine meant that the water was super blue.
The architecture here is flirty, fussy, and romantic, so different from the industrial buildings in my neighbourhood in London, which are complemented by the mosaicwork of black and white stones that adorn the sidewalks. Every building in Lisbon’s centre seems to tell a story.
We also stopped at a cafe in the Baixa district and were serenaded by street performers as we sipped on our cappuccinos. Despite the rowdy group of drunk Englishmen at the tables next to us, it was blissful.
All this beauty before noon! Is it any wonder that I fell deeply in like with Lisbon on my third try?
Have you ever been to Lisbon? Have you ever only fallen for a place after visiting multiple times?