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Living Like Lisbon

March 30, 2012

Oh hello there!  It’s been a while since we’ve last visited.  In the past month or so I’ve been to lots of places and have been doing lots of fun things- I want to share them all with you!  I think I’llstart with the most recent excursion and in the coming weeks travel back in time to various adventures I’ve embarked on.  So slide into your slofjes, brew a cup of fresh mint tea, and take a little European holiday with me.

Bem-vindo a Portugal

Welcome to Lisbon: a city of color, hills,  and change.

There’s a lot of contrast in Lisbon- you start walking down a well-lit, touristy street and suddenly find yourself in a deserted and dim alleyway.  Luckily there’s always an old Portuguese woman willing to help point you in the right direction and remind you to hold tight to your purse.  

We started the day eating pasteis at a local shop and embarked upon our first trolly ride, all the way to the top of the city where a medieval castle- the only medieval structure that survived an earthquake in 1755- boldly stands watch over the city.  We wandered around the various towers and view points, oohing, ahhing, and taking way too many pictures.

Next was city’s oldest and biggest cathedral.  We marveled at the clean lines, the hush, the consistency- a serious contrast to the zig zag of taxis, motorcycles, trollies, and wandering tourists just outside.  After begrudgingly deciding to pay for what we thought was a small area with tombs of little princess and old saints, we pleasantly discovered an archeological site where the the cathedral had been built on top of the old city- Roman ruins and houses from the Arab occupation were all in the process of being uncovered.  The afternoon light was warm and the air was quite and still.  I found myself at total peace amongst the scaffolding and recently unearthed history.  

We relaxed over lunch, took an elevator to an overlook of the city, and stumbled upon an archeological museum in the ruins of an old church that was never rebuilt after the earthquake.

It’s amazing to see the old and new in Lisbon- to still be able to witness the effects of things that reshaped the city hundreds and hundreds of years ago.  I think you can learn a lot from cities, especially those with a history.  And the thing I really love about Lisbon is the rebuilding, the resilience.  It has been knocked on its chin by fires and earthquakes, conquests and invasion.  The word re-growth comes to mind when I think of Lisbon.  Hope is a close second.

For better or for worse, lately it seems that when I start to make a plan- a blueprint- for the way I want this little life of mine to look, something comes along to change those plans.  So I’m trying to live like Lisbon- two grounded feet and a colorful heart open to change.  As I type this, the late afternoon sun has come out and there is the hush of a day settling into evening.  I feel peace and appreciation thinking of the traces of past lives I’ve built this current one on top of- leaning into uncertainty with great faith in new growth.

from lisbon with love

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