Last weekend Charlie and I went to Lisbon. It had been high on our lists for a while. We got in late on Friday afternoon and rolled into bed early at the end of a long, long week. But we woke at sunrise the following morning. This was the view from our room, just for starters….
Golden sunshine slowly crept across the extraordinary tiles on the wall of our bedroom….
A corner of our cool nicely dated bedroom. Well, in fact, this was the sitting room.
And that was the view from the bath.
An altar in a tiny side chapel:
We left after breakfast eaten outside in warm sunshine – maybe the biggest treat of the weekend? – and wandered.
First stop, flea market. Lots of things to carry home, except we didn’t.
but we could have done.
Next stop, perfect A Vida Portuguesa which is one of the most beautiful shops I’d been in in years. It was so beautiful that Charlie immediately announced he was opening a shop, although I’m not sure the plan survived to the end of the weekend (flowers and gardens are better).
Heaven. And then we wandered more.
Lisbon is an incredible city of hills, as every guide book and every taxi driver is keen to remind you, but the walking isn’t hard. What does emerge is incredible views, with foreground and great distance all in the same breath.
We climbed a hill and encountered a wedding. Brilliant. These were my favourite kind of places.
Tram cables lace overhead.
For some reason we couldn’t quite work out, the entire city was filled with Boy and Girl Scouts, who must have been quite hot in their uniform of thick socks and boots. It was baking.
A Carioca was closed, unfortunately.
I became slightly obsessed by this man vacuuming the ponds in the park,
And this one coming out of a deep hole:
We made our way to the Natural History Museum. It was extraordinary, and completely deserted. A little like entering a mental asylum.
The incredible lecture theatre.
And the two storey laboratory, one of the most fascinating rooms I have seen in a while.
Gruesome exhibits. I took this photo for you, Bridie.
An office. I loved this space.
At moments (several moments) I felt more as if I was in a very hot Stockholm or Copenhagen; something to do with the windows and the colours and the bright red clay tile roofs, that felt so unlike what you expect in a hot climate. Do you see what I mean?
Pockets, just here and there, of incredible signage. Not quite as much as I was expecting.
Back to the peace and quiet of our beautiful bedroom:
Sunset. And heading out to cocktails and dinner, and walking home late in warm air.
On Sunday, after another lazy breakfast in sparkling sunshine…. we headed to Belem. We were not quite alone. I’m afraid from time to time we found the sense of tourism overwhelming parts of this city, well, overwhelming….
From there to the Botanical Garden, just clinging on amidst decay. Perfection, and tragic.
the cactus houses.
We headed down the waterfront to MAAT, with its extraordinary new entrance by Amanda Levete, which had opened two days before.
Stunning, but the details need a bit of work… clean lines are wobbling here and there. Maybe built in a bit of a rush?
We made our way back to the hotel for the last time.
Lisbon we loved you, and we had a brilliant time… but you are a city of contradictions. I think fewer huge cruise ships would be a good thing, just for a start.
Maybe, just maybe, after all, the purpose of travel is not only to refresh and invigorate and show us new places with new eyes… but to remind us how much we love our own patch of soil called home. We got down to Dorset on Friday. Our friends Connie and Tom were staying for the weekend.
Autumn is here in Dorset, and it was approximately close to heaven.