My blogging frequency has slowed a bit recently, but after a couple of prompts to get back into it, I’m heading into another Monday morning with a place I’d love to be able to visit for the day. After discovering some authentic Portuguese custard tarts in Adelaide this weekend, I’d love to go back to the place where I discovered these delectable treats … and just enjoyed the vibe of a really cool city for a few days.
What did I love about Lisbon?
While Lisbon might not have some of the “big ticket” tourist items of other places in Europe, it was one of my favourite stops on my recent trip. It’s just a lovely city to wander and get lost in.
Apparently the world’s third hilliest city (after La Paz and San Francisco), Lisbon’s geography makes for good exercise as well as great panoramic views.
Navigating the hills has led to some innovative methods of public transport including the beautiful Santa Justa elevator …
… and the cool Gloria funicular.
The city’s coloured buildings and tiled facades add to the funky vibe.
The city’s architecture testifies to the passage of time, like the intricate details on the facades of the gothic Jerónimos monastery.
While walking the walls of the São Jorge Castle is like stepping back into medieval times.
Contrasting this is the brand new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology built on the bank of the Tagus River with a roof made for walking, gathering and people watching.
And of course, discovering the Pastel de Nata was a true joy …
… and has made me disavow the custard tarts of my homeland as unworthy to share the same name!
What did I learn from Lisbon?
Lisbon is also a ‘city of churches’, with plenty of old, beautiful, and quirky places of worship to visit.
The Sé, Lisbon’s Cathedral, is nearly 900 years old and I found myself sitting in its pews just trying to imagine all those who had preceded me in taking time out in this same space to pray and worship.
Excavations in the church’s cloisters point back even further, to Roman times. If only walls could speak …
Lisbon is a city that speaks to me of everyday lives. Of people who have made their way and made their mark. Of fun and family and fortitude and fortune and food and faith – all the things that make up a life and together make up history.
And as I sat in Lisbon’s main square on the final night of my visit, I marvelled at the combination of the setting sun and the statue of the Risen Son, watching over the city. And I remember that wherever I go, as I make my way through the everyday things of life, as the passage of time happens to me too, this is what keeps me centred. The dawning of each new day bringing God’s mercies anew, and the reality of an Easter Sunday dawning that is making all things new.