Katja told me that, compared to Porto, Lisbon is bright. I have only seen it under the light of December, that one which is white but doesn’t heat. I only know Lisbon in the fog and under the rain. And I like it like that.
When you cross the ‘Ponte 25 de Abril’ time starts to go slower. And not just because clocks have one hour less. It seems that Lisbon needs an alteration, but it is not its time yet.
The streets, impossible floors for heels, undulate themselves creating perennial puddles. Many houses must have been beautiful, with tiles on the facade shining in the past, but never more. And they need new windows, ones you could close well, although it doesn’t seem important to their tenants. To balance the grey and brown of the fallen paint, they hang colourful clothes out. Those courtains, are they inside or outside the window?
Lisbon is old. Alfama neighbourhood survived the 1755 earthquake, so it is even older. In Alfama directions are taken up or down. The narrow streets are, too often, narrow stairs, ‘to go down first you have to go up’ and only one streetlamp out of three works. When it’s dark at five o’clock, you better go to ‘Pois, café‘. Austrian café of high roofs, big tables to share and books in German next to the walls, one of those places where you can go on your own, to read and drink glühwein while it rains outside.
Libon doesn’t fake decadence. Here it is genuine, authentic, probably because it doesn’t look for it: it’s in its own nature. That’s why it was here were Fernando Pessoa, fado and saudade came up.
Saudade: a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent happines, used to express a mixture of feelings of love, lost, distance, loneliness, emptiness and necessity (according to wikipedia). Lisbon is built with more saudade than common sense…
In Decembre, happiness is absent from Lisbon, but life is not. At night, life bustles in Bairro Alto, where people drink, sing and meet new people. Like Katja, Agnes or Amie. Although the rain might have taken them away in the morning, leaving that mixture of love, lost, distance, loneliness, emptiness and necessity behind. Saudade again.
‘Boas festas’, greets from high the castelo de São Jorge. ‘Boas festas’, Lisbon. Keep staring at the ocean over your shoulder, from Belem tower in the fog…
It’s easier to get into Lisbon than getting out. And something always remains inside. An excuse to come back. Beijinhos a todos.