The last stop on our tour through Europe in September, Lisbon was filled with beauty, mystery and light. The history in this city is not just in it’s museums and monuments. It’s visible everywhere you look. In the sidewalks, the buildings, the windows and the doorways. In the perfectly restored and the perfectly rundown. I couldn’t take my eyes off the street-scape as I walked through this city. Everything draws you in and begs to have it’s story read. Here are my favorite scenes, with just a few words for each. It’s a new format I’m trying out with this post. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments if you have time.
Nova Lisboa (featured image)
To the North of the old city lies the Lisbon Orient Station. An architectural masterpiece designed by Santiago Calatrava, it anchors the ‘New Lisbon’. A mega mall. Luxury high-rise apartments. A beautiful new park along the Tejo river. All very clean and very new. After all the gorgeous decay of the old city it all felt a little wrong. Beautiful, but out of place.
The old neighborhoods in Lisbon are filled with beautiful doorways like this one. Decay is everywhere, but the bones of this city are so beautiful that it only adds to the allure. The beautiful tiles. The intricate woodwork. This is a city built by artisans and the result is, fittingly, a work of art.
Sea of Tiles
The view from one of the high points in the city reveals the layers upon layers of tile roofs you find in Lisbon. Each just a slightly different shade of clay orange, they create a lovely collage from above.
Crossing the Tracks
Streetcar tracks and Portuguese pavement are ubiquitous in Lisbon. The phenomenal textures and lines they create just beg to be photographed. Raquel and I spent a good half hour at this intersection during the magic hour. Chasing the light and the shadows and the streetcars and the pedestrians as they all passed by. While we certainly seemed crazy to the locals constantly crossing the street with our cameras and walking back and forth to find the right angles, it was totally worth it.
Scene outside the Streetcar
Riding this magical streetcar down the hill from Barrio Alto, I was as fascinated by the scenes unfolding outside as I was by the streetcar itself. I tried to imagine what it must be like for the locals here, watching this streetcar go by every day, up and down the hill. Do they tire of the noisy contraption? Perhaps just ignore it completely. How can something so beautiful go by, unnoticed?
Walking up to the Castle of St. Jorge, through narrow streets of cobblestones and Portuguese pavement sidewalks I stumbled upon this beautiful, blue Mini Cooper parked on the street. No doubt the perfect vehicle for this city I thought that it fit it’s surroundings like a glove. This is where the Mini Cooper should be. If cars have feelings (and I’m certain they do), this Mini Cooper must be a ridiculously happy chap.
You may see a wrecked building in this picture. Nothing worth making a photo of. Me, I see the stories that happened here. Hundreds of years of people standing on their balconies, leaning against the beautifully crafted iron railing. Shouting down to friends, perhaps. Watching a kiss or an argument between lovers. People participating in the street-scape of their city. It might be in decay right now – but it’s future is still un-written. Possibilities are sometimes more beautiful than the actualities that may, or may not, follow.